The South Asian and Sikh communities in New York are speaking out against anti-Asian hate after an Indian man was attacked with a hammer inside a Brooklyn hotel last Monday.
Surveillance video at the Quality Inn in Brownsville captured a man hitting Sumit Ahluwalia, 32, in the head with a hammer on April 26, CBSNewYork reported.
In response, the man said, “You’re not my brother. You’re not the same skin. I don’t like you.” He then pulled out a hammer from a bucket, struck Ahluwalia’s head “with such intensity,” and fled.
Ahluwalia, who immigrated to the U.S. from India three years ago, said he believes he was targeted because of his religious attire, as he was the only one at the scene wearing a turban. The incident has left him in fear that someone might attack him again.
“Now I’m feeling scared somehow … Now when I’m going to work, when I’m walking, I have some fear, like maybe someone is coming,” he said. “Everyone comes to this country with new hope, but now there’s something, other feeling in the mind, like why, I didn’t say anything, why did this happen to me?”
The Sikh community agrees with the victim that the turban he was wearing motivated the attack and wants the authorities to investigate the incident as a hate crime.
Sikhs Against Asian Hate Crimes and Stop Hate Crime held a rally and a press conference on Saturday at Smokey Park in South Richmond Hill to address the incident, PIX11 reported.
Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Punjabi woman elected to statewide office in New York, condemned the attack, noting that Sikhs are among the most targeted religious groups in the U.S.
“In the past few years, hate crimes against Sikh Americans have risen by 200%,” she was quoted as saying.
Japneet Singh, a community advocate, found the assault especially painful as four Sikhs recently died in the mass shooting in Indianapolis.
Ahluwalia suffered minor injuries, including internal bleeding in the head. He says his turban may have helped cushion the blow and prevented more severe injuries.
Authorities described the suspect as a medium-built, adult male with short black hair and was last seen wearing all-black attire including a jacket, pants, sneakers and a face mask.
NYPD is currently investigating the incident and has urged anyone with information to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or send messages to the NYPDTips Twitter account or NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.
Featured Image via CBS New York