Sikh community asks NYPD to investigate attacks

ROOSEVELT ISLAND (WABC) -- Members of the Sikh community are asking the NYPD to aggressively investigate what they believe are hate crimes against them.

They point to several recent attacks, including one where a man was critically injured after being hit by a car.

"They called us Osama bin Laden and told us to go back to our country," said Dr. Jaspreet Singh Batra, a Sikh attack victim.

But Dr. Jaspreet Singh Batra says he questioned the verbal abuse near his home on Roosevelt Island last Thursday.

Dr. Batra, a medical researcher, told Eyewitness News he was just walking with his mother through his peaceful community when suddenly about 10 teens, some as young as 14, approached.

"And one of them pounded us in the face, another one pounded me in the back of the neck," Dr. Batra said.

The Sikh Coalition and the NYPD now confirm what happened there.

It was just one of several attacks on Sikhs and that the NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the cases as unrelated, but the Sikh Coalition says the bias behind them is the same.

"It's widely recognized that Sikhs are targeted because of the way they look," said Rajdeep Singh, of the Sikh Coalition.

They say the problem mushroomed after 9/11 and hasn't stopped since.

Just two weeks ago in Queens, another Sikh, Sandeep Singh was run over and dragged after he questioned the same type of verbal abuse.

In surveillance video, you can see how Singh tried to stop the aggressor, but right after he was run over and dragged 50 feet.

"I nearly lost my life when a man in a pickup truck called me a terrorist, told me to go back to my country," said Sandeep Singh on YouTube.

It was eerily similar to an attack on a professor from Columbia University nearly a year ago, but in his case there were 20 to 30 young people who surrounded him.

Surveillance video showed some of them on bicycles.

To date there has been just one arrest.

"This is the pressure cooker, when, if, a person, calmly but assertively stands up for themselves as Dr. Batra and Sandeep Singh did, situations combust," said Dr. Prabhjot Singh, an attack victim.
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