Saddened and disturbed by recent hate crimes against Sikhs, says Indian-origin US mayor

Calling the recent crimes against Sikhs in New York and other parts of the US “reprehensible” acts of hate and violence, the mayor of Hoboken city in the US state of New Jersey expressed concern over the rising hate crimes against the minority community in the country.Mayor Ravi S Bhalla’s Sunday statement came days after he opened up about being the target of a series of letters that threatened to kill him and his family.The letters that he received last year first called on Bhalla to resign but then began threatening his and his family’s life, targeting him for his Sikh faith, CBS News reported on Tuesday.

“I am disturbed and saddened by the recent hate crimes that have shaken the Sikh community in Richmond Hill, New York, where one Sikh man was assaulted and an attempt was made to forcibly remove his turban, and another senior Sikh individual was subjected to a violent assault and died of his injuries,” Bhalla said in the statement.

A 19-year-old Sikh boy was assaulted and injured in New York on Wednesday for wearing a turban while travelling in a shuttle bus. A 26-year-old man was later arrested and charged with a hate crime for the attack.

“These reprehensible acts of hate and violence strike at the heart of our shared American values of unity, diversity, and acceptance,” said Bhalla, the only Sikh American Mayor in the US.

“In these moments, it is important that we come together to reaffirm our shared commitment to fostering a climate of understanding and compassion for our friends and neighbours everywhere,” he said.

“As a public official and Hoboken’s Mayor, I pledge to speak out and take action against any form of hatred, intolerance, or discrimination and to remember that diversity is our strength,” said Bhalla.

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