Sikh taxi driver brutally assaulted in U.S.

Baljeet Singh Sidhu, who works as a mail carrier and a Uber driver, was attacked on Sunday while he was parking his car outside his home near Hilltop Mall, Richmond, California.

December 19, 2019 04:46 pm | Updated 09:54 pm IST - New York

A 57-year-old Indian-origin Sikh taxi driver has been brutally assaulted and hit with a barbeque grill cover in the head in front of his home in the U.S. state of California, media reports said, second such attack in less than a fortnight.

Baljeet Singh Sidhu, who works as a mail carrier and a Uber driver, was attacked on Sunday while he was parking his car outside his home near Hilltop Mall, Richmond, California, after finishing his duties, SFGate.com reported.

While he was parking his car, a man came up to his cab and asked him for a lighter. Mr. Sidhu said he didn’t have one and the man left, but then he returned with another request.

“He asked me and said he had USD 5 and he needed a ride. It looked suspicious,” Mr. Sidhu was quoted as saying by the KTVU television station.

He told the man his shift was over. Then the suspect came back a third time and attacked Sidhu and hit him in the head with a barbeque grill cover and then knocked down and choked.

“I was hit a number of times. Have so many wounds,” Mr. Sidhu said.

There were cuts, bumps and bruises on him. His family believe the attack to be a hate crime, and he was assaulted because of his Sikh turban and appearance, the SFGate reported. His daughter, Gaganjot Sidhu said, “His turban was off and blood all over his face. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. Like no daughter wants to see her father in that condition, the KTVU reported.

No slurs were used, no money was robbed, but Gaganjot says her father was targeted because of how he looks.

On Wednesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) expressed solidarity with the Sikh community of the San Francisco Bay Area, the report said.

“We condemn this attack and express our solidarity with the Sikh community,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area office of CAIR. “Sidhu and his loved ones are in our prayers. We urge the Richmond Police Department to investigate a possible bias motive for this incident.”

This attack is second such attack in a fortnight.

On December 5, an Indian-origin Sikh taxi driver was assaulted and racially abused in the US state of Washington in a suspected hate crime.

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