NY Sikh Victim Of Brutal Racial Attack May Lose Vision

January 23, 2009

Author: Jaspreet Singh

Source: The Panthic Weekly


Jasmir Singh, a 21-year-old Sikh college student was savagely attacked and stabbed in his left eye during an unprovoked attack on Sunday outside a grocery store in Queens, New York by three young men wielding a glass bottle. Jasmir sustained injuries to his left-eye, head, face, and back, and has not regained his vision after undergoing a five hour surgery where he received 18 stitches to his eye. Police arrested two of the suspected attackers nearby, but the third remains at large. The two arrested have been charged with assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree, both serious felony charges. United Sikhs is working with the NYPD Community Affairs Liaison to urge police to charge the attackers additionally with hate/bias crime charges.

The incident took place at about 4 am on Sunday on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights. Jasmir Singh and his friend, Pierre Dizon, were returning home when they were confronted by three young men. Jasmir and Pierre attempted to walk away from the three men, but they would not allow them to leave. The men taunted Jasmir about his hair and beard, initially asking him why he did not cut it, and then threatening him that they were going to cut it. Jasmir and Pierre were able to enter the store to ask for assistance and call the police. The police department was on the phone when the three men entered the store, pulled Jasmir outside and began to beat him with a broken glass bottle. Jasmir was hit on his left eye causing it to rupture and bleed profusely. They continued to beat him on his back, front torso and head, causing lacerations and bleeding. Pierre Dizon, of Filipino origin, was not attacked and escaped unharmed.

Police arrested two of the attackers after they were found hiding behind a house nearby, but the third remains at large. The two arrested are aged 21 years old and 16 years old. One is of Hispanic decent and the other South Asian. Both have been charged with assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree. United Sikhs was alerted to the attack by community leader Harpreet Singh Toor, and then shortly thereafter by Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s office.

United Sikhs Legal Director Mejindarpal Kaur, was present at Elmhurst Hospital yesterday to assist the family and met the doctors who attended to Jasmir. According to Dr. Ravi of Elmhurst Hospital, Jasmir suffered a corneal laceration of the left eye and a ruptured globe which was stitched during a five hour surgery on Sunday involving 18 stitches.

“It is too early to tell if (Jasmir’s) vision will return as there is a lot of swelling in his left eye. He will be observed again on Friday to see if there is any sign of improvement to his vision,” said Dr. Murray Meltzer, who attended to Jasmir and is Professor of Ophthalmology and the Director of Ophthalmic Plastic and Orbital Surgery, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and an internationally known pioneer for surgical and microsurgery procedures in eye reconstruction.