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Advocates call attack on Sikh man in Queens a hate crime

Police hunting for suspect after Sikh man attacked in Queens 02:07

NEW YORK -- A man is recovering after being attacked Sunday morning on his way to the Sikh Cultural Society in Queens.

He described what happened to CBS2's Leah Mishkin.

"He was just walking and he came from behind and hit him in the face," Nirmal Singh's translator said.

It was hard for Singh to speak because of the pain. The blood was still fresh on his sleeves and jacket.

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Harpreet Singh Toor, the Sikh Cultural Society public policy chairman, translated because Singh does not speak English.

He told Mishkin he was walking to temple early Sunday morning when a man approached him and punched him in the nose, causing him to fall to the ground. Toor believes 70-year-old was attacked because of the way he looks.

"Any attack in the name of just because you look different is an attack against everybody, not just that person, and it's got to stop," Toor said.

Nirmal Singh walked Mishkin to the area where the attack happened at around 7 a.m., near 95th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in South Richmond Hill. It's a short distance from the Sikh Cultural Society, where he is currently staying. He only arrived in New York two weeks ago from Canada.

"This is the first time he's coming to New York," Toor said.

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Photos were given to CBS2 by someone who saw Singh after the attack.

"Our uncles, our parents, they're coming to pray and now they're going to feel scared because they don't know who is going to be victimized on that kind of situation," city Human Rights Commissioner Gurdev Singh Kang said.

Kang is calling on Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell to look into the case.

When asked if he believes the attack was a hate crime, Kang said, "Yes. It's not the first incident happened this in this area. It happened before, too."

"We see attacks on minorities every day and it's got to stop," Toor added.

Toor said he hopes the attack is investigated as a hate crime and that the person responsible is caught soon.

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