RICHMOND HILL, Queens (PIX11) — A Queens rally Sunday afternoon condemned the a hate crime attack against an elderly Sikh man. With a rise in hate crimes citywide, local and state leaders called for peace.
The victim of the attack, 70-year-old Nirmal Singh, is back in India. His family wanted him to return home after a visit to New York — but even though Singh wasn’t present in person, there were plenty of New Yorkers standing with him in spirit.
“An attack on him is like an attack on my own family,” Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar said. She recently made history as the first South Asian-American woman to be elected to New York state office.
On Sunday, she stood with her community, calling for an end to hate and violence. Singh, who was visiting from India, was attacked last week around the corner from the Sikh Cultural Center in Richmond Hill, Queens, during an early morning stroll.
He told PIX11 the next day, he believed the unprovoked attack was because he was wearing a turban.
(sot -Assemblyman David Weprin- 3:15)
“The Sikh community has endured targeted discrimination for many years,” Assemblyman David Weprin said.
According to the city’s hate crime task force, there were 190-reported hate crimes so far in 2022, compared to 96 the same time last year — a 98% increase.
President Biden signed the Hate Crimes Bill into law few months ago, a measure Congresswoman Grace Meng pushed for. Still, the Sikh community said more needs to be done to protect vulnerable New Yorkers. Suggestions include more police patrols and surveillance cameras.