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Sikh punched in the head with hammer at Brooklyn hotel, community calls for attack to be investigated as hate crime

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NEW YORK (UKTN) – The New York Indian community is mobilizing after surveillance video shows an Indian being attacked with a hammer in Brooklyn.

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It happened Monday morning at the Quality Inn on Osborn Street in Brownsville.

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The community believe the attack was motivated by hate, saying the victim was targeted because of his religious attire, especially his turban.

Police try to identify a man who allegedly hit a hotel worker in the head with a hammer in Brooklyn on April 26, 2021 (NYPD Crime Stoppers)

Surveillance video shows Sumit Ahluwalia, 32, entering the hotel lobby, where he is operations manager.

The suspect then appears to hit Ahluwalia on the head with a hammer before fleeing.

“He took the hammer out of his bucket and hit my head with such callousness,” Ahulawalia told UKTN’s Kiran Dhillon.

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He said the man entered the lobby and started yelling at him and the front desk staff before spitting in his face three times.

“I went back and said, ‘Hey brother, what happened?’ [He said,] “You are not my brother. You are not the same skin. I don’t love you, ”Ahulawalia said.

“Do you think you’ve been targeted?” Dhillon asked.

“I think so because I was the only turban guy who was there,” Ahulawalia said.

The attack completely devastated the Sikh father of two who immigrated from India three years ago.

“Now I feel scared somehow… Now when I go to work, when I walk, I’m scared, like maybe someone is coming,” he said. “Everyone comes to this country with new hope, but now there is something, another feeling in the mind, like why, I didn’t say anything, why did this happen to me?

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Members of the South Asian and Sikh community were joined by politicians to speak out against anti-Asian hatred on Saturday

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“We will continue to promote unity in our city, we will stand up against prejudice and we will stand up against hatred,” said Adrienne Adams, member of City Council.

Lawyer Japneet Singh says the assault is particularly painful in the wake of the murder of four Sikhs in the deadly Indianapolis massacre.

“We should accept everyone. We all have the right to a life of dignity, to a life of respect, ”he said.

Police say they are currently investigating the incident, but the Sikh community wants it to be considered a hate crime.

Last week, there were 68 anti-Asian hate crimes in the city, up from 15 during the same period in 2020.

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Advocates say more awareness and education is needed to end the hatred.

Ahluwalia agrees, adding that he came to the United States with a heart full of hope and just wants to belong.

“People should know these turban guys, we’re here to help. We are not here to harm anyone, ”he said. “We are also struggling here, doing a job ourselves. Wake up in the morning at 6 a.m., come home at 7, 9 sometimes, and we don’t deserve this. “

Ahluwalia suffered minor head injuries, including internal bleeding. We expect him to be fine.

He believes it was his turban that kept his injuries from being more serious.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online on NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.

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Kiran Dhillon of UKTN contributed to this report.

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