QUEENS — Dozens of people at a rally urged police and federal authorities to investigate the assault of a Sikh man who was struck and dragged underneath a car last week as a hate crime after he was told to "go back to your country, bin Laden," according to the victim's wife.
Sandeep Singh, 29, a father of two young children, was hit and dragged by a pick up truck last Wednesday around midnight just outside of his business, a construction company, on 99th Street and 101st Avenue in Ozone Park, police said.
The incident is one of several perpetrated against Sikhs since 9/11, activists said. A spokesman for the NYPD said Tuesday that the police are not investigating the incident as a hate crime but the inquiry is ongoing.
According to his family, Singh and his friends, who had just finished eating dinner, were slowly crossing the street when the driver approached them.
Police said that a white pick-up truck, which was traveling south on 99th Street, was forced to stop, which led to a verbal dispute between the driver and Singh.
According to Prabhpreet Kaur, Singh’s wife, the driver told her husband: “Go back to your country, bin Laden."
Kaur, who was born in the U.S., said that the driver also allegedly called her husband, who was born in India, a “terrorist."
“When Sandeep protested, the man ran him over, dragged him for 30 feet under the truck, and left him to die,” she said at a press conference held at the intersection where the incident took place.
Police said the driver fled after turning onto 101st Avenue.
Singh was rushed to Jamaica Hospital for abdominal and back injuries and several abrasions, police said.
His wife said that he underwent stomach surgery after suffering internal bleeding. She said his condition is still serious, but he is slowly recovering.
“I was attacked because I am a Sikh and because I look like a Sikh,” Singh said in a statement, read by his wife.
Amardeep Singh of the Sikh Coalition said that the community wants more “law enforcement resources devoted to finding” the driver.
He also said that members of the community met with police officials at the local precinct on Monday night to discuss the crime.
Police described the truck as a light colored 2007-2009 GMC 1500 Series Sierra pick-up.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.