JERSEY CITY,NJ—About 40 representative of the Jersey City Sikh community convened with city council members last night concerning two recent assaults believed to be hate crimes, and to request better representation by the city administration. Sunny Kumar 33, a board member of Nanak Naam Jahaj Gurdwara on West Side Avenue explained that a Sikh man engaged in a dispute over shoveling snow was assaulted on February 15, and told, “Osama go back home. You don’t belong here.’’
The Sikh man was kicked in his stomach, and beaten with a shovel. A portion of the Sikh’s beard was pulled out. He also sustained bruises to his chest, and suffered injuries to his jaw. He was then taken to Jersey City Medical Center, where he was treated, before being released with pain medication.
An incident in January involved the assault of two bearded Sikh men wearing turbans as they were walking along Liberty Avenue near Spruce Street. They were attacked only because of their appearance. One man had his wrist broken, and the other sustained bruises from being beaten about the face.
“People associate Sikhs with terrorists because of the turban and beards,’’ Kumar explained, adding, “It’s like calling a horse a donkey.”
Council members, Joyce Watterman, Daniel Rivera, Richard Boggiano and Khemraj “Chico’’ Ramchal as well as representatives of the North, and West, police districts met with Sikhs briefly, however Mayor Steven Fulop did not show up, although he had been invited.
Council President Rolando R. Lavarro, Jr., council members Ramchal, and Jersey City Police Chief Robert Cowan plan to attend services at the gurdwara on Sunday to address violence, to increase awareness about the history and culture the Sikh community, and to discuss representation of Sikhs in city government.
The Sikhs expressed a desire for more opportunities to participate in cross cultural events with hopes of fostering a better understanding of their community. Riverea offered to be a channel of communication between cultures. Officials also suggested that Sikh culture, and history, be included in their school’s curriculum.
This is the new norm for sikhs weak and victims…. This problem is only going to get worse. Sikhs are starting to get a reputation of just putting up with it and being cowards.