The turban that made a Sikh man the target of a hit-and-run last week also saved his life, his brother said Tuesday.
More than 100 people stood beside the brother and wife of Sandeep Singh, 29, in the Ozone Park intersection where they said the driver of a pickup truck called Singh a terrorist, struck him and dragged his body several feet.
The Sikh Coalition, a national advocacy group for members of the Sikh faith, and the Richmond Hill-based Sikh Cultural Society called on police to more aggressively investigate what they called a hate crime.
Surrounded by dozens holding signs reading “End hate,” “Keep Sikhs safe” and “Take on hate,” Sikh leaders said attacks on their community remain prevalent in a post Sept. 11-atmosphere, where men in turbans are mistakenly profiled as Muslims and terrorists.
The victim’s wife, Prabhpreet Kaur, and brother, Navdeep Singh, said Singh was leaving a restaurant near his Ozone Park construction business around midnight Wednesday when he got into an argument with the driver of a light colored Series Sierra pickup truck near 101st Avenue and 99th Street.
“He was walking too slow for the gentleman, or actually the animal. And he said something about, ‘Go back to your country, Bin Laden,’” Kaur said. “When Sandeep protested, the man ran him over, dragged him 30 feet under the truck and left him to die.”
Singh remains in Jamaica Hospital in serious condition after surgery in his stomach due to internal bleeding, according to Kaur.
“He had pipes in his nose, mouth, bruises all over,” she said. “His whole back, from his neck to his lower back, he has really bad road rash that’s going to need skin grafting.”
But Singh’s brother said his head remained unscathed – thanks to his turban.
“His turban saved his life. There is no injury on his head, nothing, no scratch on his head,” Navdeep Singh said.
Police were still searching for the driver.
The Sikh Coalition said the Police Department did not confirm its hate crime task force was investigating the incident until community leaders met with the 102nd Precinct Monday.
Singh’s brother obtained surveillance clips of the incident from local bodegas and brought it to the precinct, but was dismayed the NYPD had not already sought such evidence.
“I want justice for my brother,” he said. “They have to take this case very seriously because it’s attempted murder plus it’s a hate crime.”
The NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the family’s criticism.
The department said its hate crime task force was investigating whether bias played into the crime.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2014 Community News Group
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