- Nirmal Singh, 70, was punched on the nose, causing him to fall to the ground.
A 70-year-old Sikh man, who arrived in the U.S. two weeks ago, was attacked last week during his early morning walk in Queens, New York. The Queens Chronicle has identified the elderly man as Nirmal Singh. Citing the police, the report said that Singh “was walking at approximately 6:45 a.m. between Lefferts Boulevard and 95th Avenue within the confines of the 102nd Precinct when an unidentified individual punched him in the nose causing him to fall to the ground.” Singh lives alone in a residential housing provided by The Sikh Cultural Society.
According to the Forest Hills Post, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. “The perpetrator, who is described as Black, did not ask for money– just punched him,” the report said.
The attack became viral by the afternoon of April 3, thanks to photos posted by Gurinder Singh, an engineer from South Richmond Hill who volunteers at The Sikh Cultural Society. He stumbled upon the victim on a bench three feet away from the temple. The photos show blood on the sidewalk, Singh’s face, hands, jacket and turban and scuff marks on his knee.
“I’ve been living here for 30 years,” said Gurinder Singh told the Queens Chronicle. “I wanted to get it out there so that when police did come they could probably get ahead in finding camera footage of where the incident was.”
An ambulance arrived within 15 minutes, Gurinder Singh told the Queens Chronicle but “NYPD didn’t show up.” The victim was then taken to the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center “with a laceration, pain and swelling,” the Queens Chronicle report said, quoting the police. However, no statements from Singh were taken before, during, or after the incident, the report added. “We went to the precinct, we called the other Sikh community members and everybody came and we called the cops again,” Singh told the paper. “We have some Sikh officers in the NYPD unit, they pushed to get the report written, everything was written and they talked to him about everything.”
Several lawmakers took to Twitter to offer support and condemn the attack. Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Woodhaven) spoke to the police about the assault. “There will be zero tolerance for violence against the Sikh community in my district,” she tweeted.
The Sikh Coalition, a community organization that represents Sikhs across the U.S. said that it has made indirect contact with Singh. “We are extremely disturbed by the violent and heartbreaking images that are being shared on social media platforms,” the coalition said on its social media handles.”
(Top photo, courtesy United Sikhs on Twitter).