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NYPD Investigates Unprovoked Attack of 70-Year-Old Sikh Man in Richmond Hill as Hate Crime

Harpreet Toor (left) with Nirmal Singh (right). Singh was punched on the nose in an unprovoked attack that police are investigating as a hate crime (Photo courtesy of Harpreet Toor)

April 4, 2022 By Christian Murray

A 70-year-old Sikh man was punched on the nose during an early morning walk in Richmond Hill Sunday.

The unprovoked attack took place on 95th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard at around 6:45 a.m. and no words were exchanged prior to the punch.

The victim, identified as Nirmal Singh, suffered a broken nose and bruising to his face and went to Jamaica Hospital by private means.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, according to police. The perpetrator, who is described as Black, did not ask for money– just punched him.

The attack stunned the south Asian community and has caused outrage among elected officials and local residents.

“The attack on the 70-year-old Sikh man in Richmond Hill over the weekend was a despicable display of hatred and cowardice,” said State Sen. Joseph Addabbo.

“Nirmal Singh did nothing to provoke this heinous assault, and after any attack on a person of a specific race or religion, we must look into it as a possible hate crime. I will offer whatever assistance is needed by the NYPD in their search for this suspect and I my thoughts are with Mr. Singh and the entire Sikh community of Richmond Hill.”

Meanwhile, Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar, tweeted Sunday that the NYPD is investigating the case and that she has “zero tolerance for violence against the Sikh community in my district.”

Harpreet Toor, a Sikh Indian who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in the 23rd District last year, condemned the attack.

“This is such a shame that this is happening in New York City. It is happening far too often.”

Toor, who has been helping Singh since the attack, said the south Asian community believes that he was targeted because he was wearing a turban.

He said that Singh had only been in the country since March 21. This is his first trip to the US, as he was about to see his son and daughter who both live in Canada.

“He has been to eight other countries and this is the first time that he has been attacked. It’s such as shame,” Toor said.

Toor is calling for the city to take action to protect the South Asian community.

“We don’t want lip service; we want to see something concrete.”

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