Two arrested in New York for attacks on Sikhs; leading senator, governor,. others condemn hate crime

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Senator Chuck Schumer speaks at a protest on April 10, 2022, at the Richmond Hill Gurdwara in New York City against attacks on Sikhs. He is flanked by New York State Assemblymembers David Weprin and Jennifer Rajkumar. (Photo: Weprin on Facebook)

New York Police have arrested two men in connection with two separate attacks on Sikhs in the city amid rising fears in the South Asian community in an area with a prominent gurdwara.

A 19-year-old man, Vernon Douglas, was arrested on Thursday, April 14, 2022, for allegedly attacking the 70-year-old man “wearing traditional Sikh articles of faith” on April 3, the police department said. The Sikh Coalition identified the victim as Nirmal Singh, a visitor from India.

The attack was investigated by the Hate Crimes Task Force of New York Police and Douglas was charged with committing hate crimes. On Tuesday, police had arrested Hezekiah Coleman, 20, soon after an attack on two Sikh men, also in the same Richmond Hill area.

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He and another man removed the turbans of the two men, beat them and robbed them.

A wanted poster issued by New York Police for the person wanted in the attack on a 70-year-old Sikh man visiting from India on April 3, 2022. (Photo: NYPD via South Asia Monitor)

The second attack came two days after a protest at which high-powered US leader Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic Party majority in the Senate, and several New York leaders condemned the attacks on Sikhs.

“When a man is beaten and hurt because of his background, who he is, what his religion, his nationality and ethnicity [are], it is a dark day for America”, Sen Schumer said.

“The lesson of our history is that we must fight it and speak out against it”, he said.

Sikh Coalition official Nikki Singh said after the second attack, “Sikhs are no strangers to hate violence, but the recent string of repeated attacks in the same location is especially disheartening and reprehensible”.

On Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul participated in an anti-hate crime rally, along with the Sikh Coalition.

ADDON from News India Times

According to New York State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, there has been a 200 percent rise in hate crimes against the Sikh community in recent years.

Statement by NY State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar on hate crimes against Sikhs. Photo: Twitter @JeniferRajkumar
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