TIMESLEDGER | QNS.COM | APRIL 8-14, 2022
Queens leaders condemn attack against Sikh man in Richmond Hill
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
Queens lawmakers and community leaders
are calling for justice after a 70-year-old
Sikh man was attacked while on an early
morning walk in South Richmond Hill on
Sunday, April 3.
The assault occurred at 6:45 a.m. on Lefferts
Boulevard and 95th Avenue. The victim,
Nirmal Singh, was walking to the Sikh Cultural
Society Temple nearby when a man approached
him and punched him in the nose,
causing him to fall to the ground, authorities
Following the attack, Singh was found
roaming around the Gurdwara with blood
on his face and jacket, community leader
Japneet Singh told QNS.
Nirmal suffered a fractured nose, a swollen
black eye and an injured wrist. He was
taken to Jamaica Hospital but was released
without treatment, Japneet Singh said.
“No one did an X-ray and if you look at his
nose, it’s either fractured or broken for sure.
It’s causing him a lot of pain and I’m hoping
this isn’t the case, but he may have some internal
injuries as well,” Japneet Singh said.
“I’m going to take him back to the hospital
to find out why they didn’t take an X-ray, and
take him to a different hospital after that.”
According to Japneet Singh, the suspect
made no attempt to rob Nirmal.
“In my humble opinion, if you see a man
that had a turban and wasn’t robbed and was
randomly attacked and assaulted, it had to be
because of his religious garment,” Japneet
Singh said. “He recalls the guy screaming
but because there is a language barrier, he
didn’t understand what was being said.”
There are currently no arrests at this
time and the investigation remains ongoing,
according to police. The attack is being investigated
as a bias crime and Japneet Singh
says they’re trying to obtain surveillance
video of the attack.
Nirmal, who is visiting New York for the
first time on a tourist visa from Canada, was
afraid to report the incident to the police fearing
that he would be deported.
Japneet Singh communicated with police
regarding the matter on behalf of Nirmal,
who does not speak English.
“We had to tell him that we are all with
him and to not be afraid and that we will try
to get justice for him,” Japneet Singh said.
“It’s a common thing, especially amongst immigrant
communities who fear being blamed
for the incident.”
While the NYPD is searching for the suspect,
Nirmal is staying at the Gurdwara. His
son, Japneet Singh says, is now concerned for
his father’s safety and well being.
This isn’t the first time a Sikh member
has been attacked in the community, Japneet
“Last week, an uncle was walking to his
house and some kids sucker-punched him
and ran away,” Japneet Singh said. “Also,
three months ago, a TLC taxi cab driver was
waiting in line and some guy assaulted him
and we were able to catch the guy.”
According to Japneet Singh, it’s important
to have a dialogue to understand each
other, such as conducting cultural awareness
programs and religious programs to
learn about other communities, as well as
building a relationship with the NYPD.
“Every time something like this happens,
we start back from zero. For an attack like
this to happen in Little Punjab, two blocks
away from the biggest temple in the U.S.
when it comes to our religion, Sikhism, it just
makes you think what can we do as a broader
community to help alleviate this?” he said.
“We need to walk shoulder to shoulder and
we need to work with law enforcement, so we
can help them help us.”
Japneet Singh is now calling on Mayor
Eric Adams and Queens District Attorney
Melinda Katz to take swift action and to help
find the suspect.
Meanwhile, Queens lawmakers and community
leaders denounced the attack and are
showing support for the Sikh community.
In a statement to QNS, Queens Borough
President Donovan Richards wished Nirmal
a full and speedy recovery from the physical
and mental trauma he endured from the
“No member of our Sikh community,
or any community, deserves to feel unsafe
walking down the streets of the ‘World’s
Borough,’ and we will continue to stand as
one united borough against violence of any
kind,” Richards said.
Read more on QNS.com.
Nirmal Singh, 70, is recovering after being
attacked on Sunday, April 3, on his way to
the Sikh Cultural Society in Richmond Hill.
Photo via Twitter/Japneet Singh
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