“We are deeply disturbed by reports of an apparent attack on a Sikh cab driver at JFK airport, captured on video last week. Our diversity makes the US stronger, and we condemn any form of hate-based violence,” the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) said.
Written by Harshit Sabarwal
The United States on Sunday condemned the recent attack on a Sikh cab driver at the John F Kennedy airport in New York City stating that the government has a responsibility to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable for their actions.
Taking to Twitter, the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) said it condemns any form of hate-based violence.
“We are deeply disturbed by reports of an apparent attack on a Sikh cab driver at JFK airport, captured on video last week. Our diversity makes the US stronger, and we condemn any form of hate-based violence,” the State SCA wrote on Twitter.
An un-dated 26-second long video shared on Twitter on January 5 showed the Sikh cab driver being assaulted by an unidentified man. It was posted by Navjot Pal Kaur, who said that it was recorded by a bystander at the John F Kennedy airport.
In the video, the man could be heard allegedly using expletives against the cab driver. He repeatedly hit the victim and punched him and also knocked off his turban. Further details about the driver and the cause of the attack were not available.
It’s not enough to say that we need to fight AAPI hate. We actually need our elected officials to get involved with consequences for those who commit acts of violence against our community. @GregMeeksNYC @NYCMayor @AdrienneToYou @yuhline @rontkim pic.twitter.com/Dkk23lQw0g— Navjot Pal Kaur (@navjotpkaur) January 4, 2022
The video derived angry reactions from the Sikh community. A day before the State SCA’s remarks, the Indian Consulate in New York took up the matter with the authorities.
“The assault against a Sikh taxi driver in New York is deeply disturbing. We have taken up the matter with US authorities and urged them to investigate this violent incident,” the Consulate tweeted on Saturday.
The National Sikh Campaign, an organisation that promotes a better understanding of the Sikh community in the US and other Western countries, said, “We are only a few days into the new year and there has already been a hate crime committed against a Sikh.”
“A Sikh person goes about their daily lives only to be senselessly attacked by someone. Common road rage between people can escalate when someone who is ignorant of who we are takes their disdain for our turbans and becomes violent,” the NSC added.
This is the second such attack on a Sikh cab driver in New York. In 2017, drunk passengers assaulted a 25-year-old driver and knocked his turban off.
On December 5, 2019, a Sikh driver working for Uber was racially abused and strangled by a passenger in Bellingham, Washington.