Two Sikh men were attacked in the Richmond Hill section of Queens on Tuesday in what the New York Police Department is investigating as a hate crime. The assault was carried out by two men who struck the victims with fists and wooden sticks, took money from them and ripped off their turbans.
The victims suffered minor injuries, and one person of interest was arrested at the scene, police say.
The attack took place at the same intersection where 70-year-old Nirmal Singh was brutally beaten last week. Singh, a Sikh man visiting from India, was on a walk when someone suddenly punched him in the face and left him bloodied.
“Sikhs have repeatedly faced this kind of violence — now multiple times in this same place in this month alone,” said Nikki Singh, senior policy and advocacy manager at the Sikh Coalition. “As an organization that works to combat and prevent hate, we continue to stand with the Sikh community in Queens as well as all impacted New York City communities who routinely experience these hate crimes.”
Sikh American leaders and civil rights organizations have worked to draw more attention to this type of violence following the murders of four Sikh workers at an Indianapolis FedEx facility last April.
Though police determined the shooting in Indiana wasn’t a hate crime, Sikh Americans say they have faced “invisible” racism for years. According to FBI data, there was a 68 percent increase in anti-Sikh hate crimes from 2019 to 2020, mostly committed by white people.
“This targeted hate violence is not only deeply traumatizing to the individuals involved — it’s traumatizing to those entire communities,” Nikki Singh said. “We must keep fighting for justice to send the message that violent hate will not be tolerated.”