Two Sikh men are currently recovering at Jamaica Hospital after they were attacked and robbed while on an early morning walk on Tuesday, April 12, according to Councilwoman Joann Ariola.
This morning, a leisurely stroll turned tragic when two members of the Sikh community were targeted for their faith. One of the assailants has been apprehended, but another is still at large. We must join together as a city and show that this kind of bigotry will not be tolerated
— Joann Ariola (@JoannAriola32) April 12, 2022
The councilwoman was notified by the NYPD 102nd Precinct about the incident that occurred near the Sikh Cultural Society at 97th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill.
According to a preliminary report, two suspects hit the men with a pole and removed their turbans, Ariola said.
The men were taken to Jamaica Hospital for treatment. The NYPD has arrested one suspect, and they’re searching for the second individual, Ariola said.
“We are going to do everything we can to protect the Sikh community and any religious community that is being targeted,” Ariola told QNS. “The NYPD is working overtime to make sure they’re safe and that there are cars outside of the Gurdwara, so they can pray safely and not feel threatened. This is a city that doesn’t tolerate hate.”
The councilwoman added that the heinous attack on the Sikh men is “detestable” and is something that could’ve been prevented.
“This is yet another incident of crime that has spiraled out of control in this city, and until we can restore law enforcement’s ability to punish criminals effectively we will continue to see attacks like this one and worse,” Ariola said. “I call on Mayor Eric Adams to take bold measures to make our city safe again. And to my fellow City Council representatives, some of whom feel that we do not need more police officers on our streets – I ask you to wake up. We are losing our city to violent crime, and it’s getting worse by the day. We need to take a stand against hate and bigotry, and empower the NYPD and our justice system to arrest and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
Following the attack, the Sikh Coalition released a statement on Twitter saying the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force believes both men were targeted for their faith.
THREAD: The Sikh Coalition has learned that two Sikh individuals have been attacked and robbed in Richmond Hill, Queens, very close to where Mr. Nirmal Singh was assaulted on April 3.
— Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) April 12, 2022
The attacks are being investigated as anti-Sikh hate crimes, the organization said.
“We respectfully urge community members and organizations not to share images or videos of these individuals at this early stage. Survivors of hate violence deserve to decide when and how their information and images are released — especially immediately after traumatic events,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “We also remind everyone that no one community is deserving of — or responsible for — hate crimes. In these difficult moments, anti-Black racism is directly harmful to our shared efforts to stop the hate violence that endangers us all.”
This is the second incident that has occurred near the Sikh Cultural Society in less than a week.
On the morning of April 3, a 70-year-old Sikh man was attacked while walking to the Gurdwara. The victim, Nirmal Singh, had suffered pain, swelling and lacerations.
Following the attack, Queens lawmakers and Sikh community members spoke at a press conference on April 11 condemning the assault that has sparked fear and outrage in the community. The NYPD released surveillance video of a man who is suspected of attacking Singh. The investigation is ongoing by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force.
State Assemblyman Woman Jenifer Rajkumar is calling for both incidents to be investigated as hate crimes, and for the perpetrators to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“There has been an alarming 200% rise in hate crimes against the Sikh community in recent years. I passed a historic resolution whereby New York state recognizes April as Punjabi Month. We will educate all on Sikh culture so that everyone knows as I do the generosity and kindness embedded in the Sikh American community,” Rajkumar said. “Together, with my partners in Congress and the mayor, we will give law enforcement the tools they need to fully investigate and prosecute these crimes of bias.”
Anyone with information regarding both incidents is encouraged to contact the 102nd Precinct by calling 718-805-3200.