Another incident highlighting the ever rising hate crimes in US has come to light.
Gujreet Singh a religious leader at a local Sikh gurudwara, who is also an Uber driver filed charges against a passenger who he claims held a gun to his head as a conversation about his ethnicity and religion spiralled out of control.
The advocacy organisation Sikh Coalition claims that the passenger pointed a gun to the driver’s head and said, "I hate turban people. I hate beard people," The Washington Post reported.
The incident reportedly took place on 29th January and leader of Sikh Coalition are fretting over the fact that the sheriff’s office in Illinois is yet to arrest the passenger.
Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos told the Washington Post that he was looking to book the passenger on charges of aggravated assault and is awaiting information that the sheriff’s office has requested from Uber.
The driver, a co-passenger and the suspect have been interviewed so far, according to which the driver picked up both the passengers in Moline around 11 pm and were headed toward Milan, Illinois.
The suspect then engaged Gujreet Singh in questions regarding his status in US and about where he came from and his loyalties, until it boiled up to an argument.
"The argument was about where people's loyalties lie. There was an argument over where people were from," Bustos said.
The Sikh Coalition claims that the suspect asked the driver questions like, "What is your status here? Which country do you belong to? Do you serve your country or do you serve our country?"
Singh, who is a US resident retorted by saying that he served both countries which is when the suspect put a gun to his head and said he hated "turban people."
Following this the female co-passenger forced him out of the car as Singh brought the Uber to a halt and she apologised to Singh on the man’s behalf saying, “I'm sorry, he shouldn't have said that to you.”
The Sikh community is naturally perturbed that the man has not been arrested and frustrated with the continued discrimination and malice that they have to bear with.
Sikhs have often fallen prey to hate crimes as many Americans confuse them for Muslims because of their appearance.
A man had been murdered soon after 9/11 until it was learnt that the assailant had mistaken him for an Arab.
Speaking about the incident Amrith Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition said, "If you say you hate turban people and you say you hate beard people and you put a gun to their head, that is a textbook hate crime."
She went on to add, “The problem of hatred in our communities is outrageous. Since 9/11, the Sikh community has experienced such violence in America. The fact that in 2018, it's scary to be brown in America is completely unacceptable. People need to understand, this isn't just an attack on an individual.”
"We're hoping to bring this case to resolution, certainly, for the Sikh community as quickly as possible, because I know they're concerned," Bustos said.
"The moment we are able to file a criminal charge, we absolutely will,” he added.