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Racially-Motivated Attack Targets Sikh Teen in NYC

In a deeply concerning incident, a 19-year-old Sikh teen fell victim to a racially motivated attack on a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus in New York City. The assault took place as both individuals were on a shuttle bus near 118th Street and Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill. The assailant confronted the young Sikh, pointed at his turban, and verbally expressed, “We don’t wear that in this country.” Subsequently, the aggressor proceeded to physically assault the victim, attempting to remove his turban.

The suspect fled the scene and is currently at large, prompting the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to seek assistance from the public in apprehending him. The NYPD provided a description of the suspect as a male, aged 25-35, with a dark complexion, slim build, approximately 5’9 tall, brown eyes, and black hair.

The victim, who sustained a minor cut and pain during the attack, declined medical attention at the scene. The US-based Sikh Coalition expressed its deep concern about the apparent hate-motivated attack, stating that they are working with the survivor to provide support and that the NYPD is appropriately investigating the incident as a hate crime. Community activist Japneet Singh reported that the victim’s injuries were substantial enough to prevent him from working for the next few days, and his family is understandably anxious about his well-being. The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit has taken charge of the investigation.

The incident is a stark reminder of the challenges Sikhs face, as the FBI’s annual report on hate crime statistics for 2022 revealed 198 cases of anti-Sikh hate crime victimizations. The report also highlighted a 17% increase in religiously motivated hate crime victimizations since 2021, with Sikhs continuing to be the second-most targeted group in the nation.