NEW YORK (WCBS) - A Sikh immigrant from India who was hit in the head with a hammer while on his way to work believes the suspect may have targeted him because of his skin color and religious attire. New York community leaders are calling on police to investigate the attack as a hate crime.
Surveillance video taken Monday shows 32-year-old Sumit Ahluwalia enter the lobby of the Brooklyn hotel where he works after being confronted by an unknown man outside. The man then appears to hit Ahluwalia in the head with a hammer before running away.
“He pulled out the hammer from his bucket and bang on my head with such intensity,” Ahluwalia said.
The victim says right before the attack, the suspect told him he didn’t like him because of the color of his skin and also spit in his face three times.
Ahluwalia is Sikh and was wearing a turban at the time of the attack. He and other members of the Sikh community in New York believe he was targeted because of the religious attire.
Members of the South Asian and Sikh communities were joined Saturday by politicians to speak out against anti-Asian hate. They are calling for police to investigate the attack as a hate crime.
Ahluwalia, a father of two and recent immigrant from India, says the incident has left him shaken up and saddened.
“Now, I’m feeling scared somehow. Now, when I’m going to work, like when I’m walking, I have some fear maybe someone is coming. Everyone comes to this country with a new hope, but now, [there is] some other feeling in my mind. I didn’t say anything, not my fault. Why I get this?” he said.
Ahluwalia sustained head injuries in the attack, which included some internal bleeding, but is expected to be OK. He believes his turban may have prevented more serious injuries.