Sacramento, Calif. (December 3, 2010) – The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund on Friday joined with Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV), and the Asian Law Caucus to thank local and federal law enforcement officials for their swift action in response to the assault of a Sikh American Cab Driver this past Sunday.
A long time cab driver and Sacramento resident, Mr. Harbhajan Singh was maliciously attacked by two individuals last week, after they were picked up outside of a local bar in downtown Sacramento. Mr. Singh, who wears a turban and keeps uncut hair and beard in accordance with his Sikh faith, has reported hearing racial slurs, including comparisons to Osama Bin Laden, as well as receiving death threats by the assailants.
“I commend the partnership among local and federal authorities and community members in the swift apprehension of the suspects in this tragic hate crime,” said Assemblymember Yamada. “As we seek justice for Mr. Singh, let us turn the anger and hatred he experienced into an opportunity for community education and dialogue.”
“SALDEF and the entire Sikh American community applaud the efforts of Chief Drummond and the entire West Sacramento Police Department for their diligence and quick response to this incident,” said SALDEF Managing Director Kavneet Singh (not related to Mr. Harbhajan Singh). “Attacks against an individual based on their religion, color, ethnicity or sexual orientation, are unfortunately all too common, and run counter to the fundamental freedoms and liberties that our nation was founded upon. All Americans must be free to practice their faith without fear.
“We urge the District Attorney to press for hate crime charges in the prosecution of these individuals thus sending a strong message that these types of incidents will not be tolerated,” Singh added.
Mr. Harbhajan Singh is currently at home recovering from the assault and no timetable has been set for him to be able to resume day-to-day operation of his cab.
“This has been a very difficult time for Mr. Singh and his family,” said Amar Shergill, attorney for Harbhajan Singh. “He is very thankful for the support of law enforcement authorities, his neighbors and the many community organizations that have advocated on his behalf.”
A fund has been set up to help Mr. Harbhajan Singh and his family with support while he is recovering. Contributions can be sent to Bank of America and directed to Harbhajan Singh, account No. 04262-73151.
Founded in 1996, SALDEF is the oldest Sikh American civil rights and educational organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the civil rights of Sikh Americans through advocacy, education, and media relations. Located in Washington, D.C., SALDEF’s mission is to create a fostering environment in the United States for future generations of Sikh Americans. www.saldef.org