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Sikh taxi driver assaulted, his turban knocked off by unidentified man in US


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8 minutes ago, Premi5 said:

Canada was once quite racist



Dear Readers,

Hello from sunny Markham. The weather here couldn't get better. We celebrated Canada Day on July 1, Monday. It was a whole new experience for us participating in the revelry, which stood in a complete contrast as opposed to how India celebrates August 15. There were fireworks, barbecues, air shows and free musical concerts. The day was colourful and bright. Reflecting on the vast history of the country, I saw several names that rang a bell with me. The Sikh community has been associated with Canadian history since its inception. As I got curioser and curioser, I rang up on Sikh history in Canada on the internet.

The first Sikh settler in the country is believed to be a Risaldar Major in the British India Army, Kesar Singh. He was part of a group of Sikh officers who arrived in Vancouver on a ship named the Empress of India, in 1897. On way to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, the Sikhs found work in laying tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway, lumber mills and mines. They openly earned lesser than white workers, but managed to make enough money to send some of it to India and get their relatives to migrate to Canada.

History depicts that the first Sikh pioneers came to Abbotsford in 1905, and originally worked on farms and in the lumber industry. As years passed, while the white Canadians were opposed to Asian workers, industrialists of British Columbia, which hosted around 90 per cent of the Sikh population, were short of labour and relied on the community. Through them, the Sikhs were able to get an early foothold at the turn of the 20th century in British Columbia. Most of them were British army veterans and their families. In 1907, the Khalsa Diwan society was set up in Vancouver with branches in Abbotsford, New Westminster, Fraser Mills, Duncan Coombs and Ocean Falls. While its intentions were purely religious, educational, and philanthropic, problems pertaining to Indian immigration and racism severely affected its existence.

Facing resentment from the white population of Canada, the Sikhs by this time, were facing pressure from the government who believed they were unsuitable to adapt to the climate of the country. In 1908, they were asked to leave voluntarily and settle in British Honduras, Latin America. A Sikh delegation was sent to now Belize, and upon return they asked their community members to strictly say no to the offer. On one hand, 1,710 Sikhs left British Columbia in the same year, while on the other, first plans to build a gurdwara were made. A property was acquired and the settlers carried lumbers from a local mill on their backs all the way up a hill to construct a gurdwara.

The Canadian government then passed two laws, which were specifically targeted at Punjabis. One provided that an immigrant had to have 200 dollars, while the other authorised the Minister of the Interior to prohibit entry into Canada to people not arriving from their country of birth by continuous journey and through tickets purchased before leaving the country of their birth or citizenship. The laws resulted in a dropping of Sikh population from 5,000 people in 1911, to a little over 2,500.

The Gur Sikh Temple opened on February 26, 1911. Sikhs and non-Sikhs from all over British Columbia attended the ceremony. A local newspaper even reported the event. This was not only the first Gurdwara in North America, it was the first anywhere outside of South Asia. The Khalsa Diwan Society eventually built gurdwaras in Vancouver and Victoria.

Sikhs who had fled to California as a consequence of Canadian immigration rules, founded the Ghadar Party in America in 1913. Thousands of Ghadar journals were published highlighting the racism encountered by Sikhs. Then happened the infamous Komagata Maru incident in the subsequent year. A Japanese ship filled with Sikh migrants was denied permission to dock. The fate of the men on the ship was tragic. Only nine Sikhs are known to have served with Canadian troops in World War I. Private Buckam Singh, served with the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion in the battlefields of Flanders in 1916. He later died at the age of 25 in 1919. His grave is the only known World War I Sikh Canadian soldier's grave in Canada. Today, he is not only celebrated as a Sikh hero, but also a Canadian hero.

Fast forward to 1943, a twelve-man delegation, including members of the Sikh Khalsa Diwan Society, demanded voting rights for the South Asian communities. They explained that without them, they were nothing more than second-class citizens. While the Premier then only gave voting rights to those who had fought in World War II, in 1945, two years later, all South Asians had the right to vote due to the perseverance of the Sikh Khalsa Diwan Society.

Major immigration of Sikhs truly began in the 1950s, and in the later centuries, a new dawn of hope shown as tens of thousands of Sikhs, many skilled and educated, decided to settle across Canada, mainly the urban corridor of Toronto to Windsor. The process of migration has remained never-ending since then. What has truly changed is the Canadian government's attitude towards them and other South Asian communities.

Amen bro. Canadians just don't overtly ACT racist. Or get too macho nationistic. 

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16 hours ago, proudkaur21 said:

By the same logic pocs should be beating goras left and right for all the <banned word filter activated> they have done around the world. They have committed so many crimes on a large scale against people of color but act like they are defenders of morals. What a joke. Thats why every sikh needs to learn martial arts and show these people their place. When all we do is act like victims on social media they think we are weak. Throw a few punches back and show them their place.


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"Shocked, Angered": Sikh Taxi Driver Reacts To His Assault At US Airport

According to the most recent FBI data, Sikhs remain in the top three most frequently targeted groups for religiously-motivated hate crimes and bias incidents across the US.


All IndiaPress Trust of IndiaUpdated: January 13, 2022 11:16 am IST

New York: 

An Indian-origin Sikh taxi driver - whose turban was knocked off and who was told "turbaned people, go back to your country" by an unidentified man in the US - says he is "shocked and angered" to be assaulted and that no one should experience such hate.

In a statement on January 3, community-based civil and human rights organisation The Sikh Coalition said that New York City resident Mr Singh was physically attacked and berated near his cab at JFK International Airport.

Mr Singh had parked his cab at the Terminal 4 taxi stand when another driver blocked his vehicle. When Mr Singh picked up a customer, he stepped out of his car to ask the other driver to move. The other driver attempted to hit Mr Singh with his own car door; he then began repeatedly punching Mr Singh in the head, chest, and arms, knocking off his turban, it said in a statement.

The other driver referred to Mr Singh as "turbaned people" and shouted at him to "go back to your country," according to the statement.

"I was shocked and angered to be assaulted for doing nothing but minding my own business. While working, no one should experience such hate. I am hopeful that the police can identify, arrest, and charge the person who attacked me so that I can move forward," the Sikh taxi driver, identified only as Mr Singh out of respect for his request for privacy, told The Sikh Coalition.

Mr Singh filed a report with the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) immediately after the incident. The Sikh Coalition said it is currently working to ensure that the report "paints an accurate picture of the attack given the language barrier during the initial conversations". The organisation's staff accompanied Mr Singh to a meeting with a detective to provide language assistance and legal support.

"We have every expectation that bias will be considered as a factor in this outrageous attack, given the evidence of what the other driver said and did to Mr Singh," said Amrith Kaur Aakre, Sikh Coalition Legal Director.

"The Sikh Coalition is appreciative of all who have stepped forward to support Mr Singh and called attention to his assault. As the investigation moves forward, we will work towards a just outcome that holds the attacker accountable for his actions, while also reiterating that the Sikh community remains an integral part of New York City," Ms Aakre said.

Navjot Pal Kaur had posted the 26-second video of the attack on January 4 on Twitter and it soon went viral.

Ms Kaur tweeted, "This video was taken by a bystander at John F Kennedy international Airport. I do not own the rights to this video. But I just wanted to highlight the fact that hatred continues to remain in our society and unfortunately I've seen Sikh cab drivers get assaulted again and again."

Simran Jeet Singh, author and Director for the Aspen Institute's Inclusive America Project, had tweeted: "Another Sikh cab driver assaulted. This one at JFK Airport in NYC. So upsetting to see. But it's crucial that we don't look away...What I am sure of is how painful it is to watch our fathers and elders get assaulted while they're just trying to live an honest life."

"For those who aren't Sikh, I can't put into words what it means to have your turban knocked off - or to see someone else's turban knocked off. It's visceral and gut-wrenching and just so disheartening to witness," Mr Singh tweeted.

India's Consulate General in New York had termed the assault on the Sikh taxi driver as "deeply disturbing" and said it had taken up the matter with the US authorities and urged them to investigate this violent incident.

The US State Department also said it was "deeply disturbed" by reports of the attack on the Sikh cab driver at JFK International Airport, captured on video.

"Our diversity makes the US stronger, & we condemn any form of hate-based violence," State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) had tweeted.

"We all have a responsibility to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable for their actions, no matter where such crimes occur," it added.

Mr Singh has retained the Sikh Coalition to provide free legal guidance as the investigation into his attacker moves forward.

The organisation said that out of respect for Mr Singh's "privacy (given that his turban was knocked off) and in accordance with his request that he not be publicly identified, the Sikh Coalition is not further sharing that footage at this time." It voiced concern that Sikhs in the United States continue to experience bias and hate-driven attacks on account of their visually identifiable articles of faith (including turbans) as well as perceptions about their country of origin.


According to the most recent FBI data, Sikhs remain in the top three most frequently targeted groups for religiously-motivated hate crimes and bias incidents nationwide.

1CommentsIn the Sikh Coalition's experience, taxi and rideshare drivers in particular are at a heightened risk of these kinds of violent attacks, it said.


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