A Sikh man, critically injured after being hit by a truck, was called a "terrorist" by the attacker, victim's wife said, demanding justice for him and terming the assault as an attack on her community.
Sandeep Singh, 29, is recovering from injuries he sustained when he was hit by the pick-up truck and dragged about 30 feet following an argument with the driver who used the racist slur against him on July 30.
Singh's Sikh-American wife Prabhpreet Kaur was among the many members of the Sikh community and civil rights groups who gathered in Queens on Tuesday for a support rally organised by rights group Sikh Coalition calling for justice for Singh and that the attack be investigated by the New York police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a hate crime.
Members of the community, including women and children, held posters at the rally with messages such as 'We Demand Justice,' 'We are all Sikhs', 'End hate', 'Justice for Sandeep', 'Take on hate,' 'Keep Sikhs Safe' and 'We are one.' Kaur said her husband was called a "terrorist" and told to "go back to your country" by the truck driver.
When Sandeep protested, he was run over and dragged for 30 feet under the truck and was left to die. "What happened to my husband was an act of hate perpetrated by a man who expressed bigotry before running him over. This attack is not only an attack on my husband; it is an attack on the Sikh community. It is an attack on Americans," Kaur said.
She urged the public to come forward with any information about the driver and help get justice for Singh who had "nearly lost his life".
In an audio message, Singh said in a soft and frail voice that he was attacked because he is a Sikh. He said justice should be served so that no one else goes through what he went through. "I am in a great deal of pain, but I will survive...we need to create a world without hate," Singh said.
Kaur said the attack on her husband came around the second anniversary of the Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting in which six Sikh persons were killed. "As we remember them today, I urge the NYPD and FBI to investigate the attack on my husband as a hate crime." The rally aimed to draw attention to Singh's plight.
Sikh Coalition said while Singh is recovering in the hospital, his attacker is still at large. It called on city and federal agencies to investigate the attack.
"Given that this attack was preceded by racial and religious slurs, it is an attack not only on Sandeep but also on the whole Sikh community. We call on the United States department of justice and FBI to work with the NYPD to investigate it as a hate crime," programme director for the Sikh Coalition Amardeep Singh said.
Members of the community and of several other rights groups such as American-Islamic Relations also expressed solidarity with Singh and demanded immediate justice.
Image: A protest against increasing cases of racial crimes in the US