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Astoria cab driver in coma 16 months after attack

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He was returning to his cab when he was confronted by two men whom he had apparently cut off a few blocks prior to stopping at 96th Street and First Avenue. The men argued and the passenger of the van punched Rahman in the head, causing the hardworking father to fall and hit his head on the concrete. More than 16 months later, Rahman has not regained consciousness. He remains in a coma at Roosevelt Hospital and the assailants remain at large. There has been no arrest in the case."I'm just looking for justice," Rahman's wife, Shahida, said Sunday. "Something, somewhere is missing."The two men who confronted Rahman fled in a green minivan, but an eyewitness got the license plate number. A New York Times story published in the days after the attack quoted an anonymous law enforcement official who said the owner of the minivan had been located and that investigators were "aggressively working" to the find the man who punched Rahman.But this man has not been found and on Sunday community activist Badrun Khan brought members of the Bengali community in Queens together at the Anoroc Democratic Club on 47th Street in Sunnyside to a sign a petition. It ask City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Woodside) to pressure the New York Police Department to focus attention on the case."We're not attacking the NYPD-we just want to ensure they have not forgotten the case," Khan said.Shahida told the 30 or so residents who attended that she needs their help. She had not heard from the NYPD in about a year and she was concerned that the case has fallen by the wayside.She also said her three daughters - ages 17, 11 and 9 - are having a difficult time understanding the situation, particularly the 9-year-old, who now suffers from panic attacks.This was not how it was supposed to turn out, Shahida said, recalling that her husband took the job as a cab driver to supplement his income as a restaurant manager. The couple, whose daughters were living in Bangladesh at the time of the attack, had planned to return home. The tickets were purchased for Nov. 1, 2005.Instead, the daughters have joined their mother and comatose father in Queens.District Leader John Smyth, who was also on hand Sunday, said Gioia planned to meet with the family in coming weeks.Reach reporter Craig Giammona by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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