NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s Indian community is rallying after surveillance video shows an Indian man being attacked with a hammer in Brooklyn.
It happened Monday morning at the Quality Inn on Osborn Street in Brownsville.READ MORE: CDC Reverses Course, Recommends People Wear Masks Indoors Where COVID Rates Are High
The community believes the attack was motivated by hate, saying the victim was targeted because of his religious attire, specifically his turban.
Surveillance video shows 32-year-old Sumit Ahluwalia enter the lobby of the hotel, where he is operations manager.
The suspect then appears to hit Ahluwalia in the head with a hammer before running off.
“He pulled out the hammer from his bucket and bang on my head with such intensity,” Ahluwalia told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon.
He says the man had entered the lobby and began yelling at him and the front desk staff before spitting in his face three times.
“I came moving back and said, ‘Hey brother, what happened?’ [He said,] ‘You’re not my brother. You’re not the same skin. I don’t like you,'” Ahluwalia said.
“Do you think you were targeted?” Dhillon asked.
“I think so because I was the only turban guy who was there,” Ahluwalia said.
The attack has left the Sikh father of two who immigrated from India three years ago completely shaken.
“Now I’m feeling scared somehow … Now when I’m going to work, when I’m walking, I have some fear, like maybe someone is coming,” he said. “Everyone comes to this country with new hope, but now there’s something, other feeling in the mind, like why, I didn’t say anything, why did this happen to me?”
Saturday, members of the South Asian and Sikh community were joined by politicians to speak out against anti-Asian hateREAD MORE: Full Lineup Revealed For 'We Love New York City: The Homecoming Concert' In Central Park
“We will continue to promote unity in our city, and we will stand up against bias and we will stand up against hate,” City Council Member Adrienne Adams said.
Advocate Japneet Singh says the assault is especially painful on the heels of the killings of four Sikhs in the deadly massacre in Indianapolis.
“We should be accepting of everyone. We all are entitled to a dignified life, a respectful life,” he said.
Police say they are now investigating the incident, but the Sikh community wants it looked at as a hate crime.
As of last week, there have been 68 anti-Asian hate crimes in the city, compared to 15 during the same period in 2020.
Advocates say more awareness and education are needed to end the hate.
Ahluwalia agrees, adding he came to the United States with a heart full of hope and just wants to belong.
“People should know that these turban guys, we are here to help. We are not here to harm anyone,” he said. “We are also here struggling, doing a job ourselves. Wake up in the morning at 6 a.m., go home at 7, 9 sometimes, and we don’t deserve this.”
Ahluwalia did suffer minor injuries to his head, which included internal bleeding. He’s expected to be OK.
He believes it was his turban that prevented his injuries from being more severe.
Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.
CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: 'Operation Helping Hand' Mobile Unit Provides Outreach, Support To Those With Substance Abuse Issues In Somerset County