August 12, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
New York, USA (August 12, 2014): In wake of two recent hate crimes against Sikhs in New York city, the Sikh Coalition has appealed to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to urgently address the issue of discrimination against the Sikh community.
The Sikh Coalition has written to de Blasio seeking to meet him “to address hate crimes and discrimination against Sikhs” in the city.
It may be recalled that earlier this month, Sandeep Singh (29) was brutally injured when he was hit and dragged on a public street in Queens by a pick-up truck following racial abuse by the truck’s driver. The diver had called Sandeep Singh a “terrorist” and asked him to go back to his country.
Last week, another Sikh man, and his mother were attacked by a group of teenagers who called him “Osama Bin Laden”.
The victim was confronted by about 10 teenagers who used derogatory language against his mother and made fun of her facial hair.
The Sikh community of Queens sought to draw public attention to the hate crime issue and motivate the New York Police Department (NYPD) to focus more resources in making arrests and preventing similar crimes from happening.
“Based on community feedback, we believe that the NYPD must be more proactive about its community engagement work,” the Sikh Coalition said in the letter to de Blasio.
It said there is a “perception” among local Sikhs that the NYPD could have deployed the Hate Crime Task Force immediately after the attack on Sandeep Singh.
Problems of hate crime and discrimination against the Sikhs are “compounded by the fact that the NYPD actively discriminates against turbaned Sikhs who wish to serve as law enforcement officers,” the Sikh Coalition said.
It said while turbaned Sikhs serve as police officers in Canada, India, and the United Kingdom, they are not permitted to serve in the police department in New York City.
“This makes no sense from a community policing perspective and is contrary to the New York City Human Rights Law as well as federal civil rights law,” the Sikh Coalition said.
The human rights group urged the Mayor to act upon his promise of ensuring that everyone’s rights are respected in the city and police and community stand together to confront violence.
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