April 27, 2016 (Amarillo, TX) – The Sikh Coalition filed a complaint
with Texas law enforcement agencies on behalf of Mr. Daljeet Singh today, demanding that criminal charges be brought against individuals who falsely accused Mr. Singh of making a bomb threat and who unlawfully restrained him on a bus. Mr. Singh was a passenger on a Greyhound bus traveling through Amarillo, Texas on February 21, 2016, when he was falsely accused by a fellow passenger of making a terroristic threat.
To read Mr. Singh's full statement, click here
“The only crime I committed was wearing a turban, having a beard, and speaking in a different language to another brown man on a bus,” said Mr. Singh. “I still cannot believe that this happened to me in America.” Mr. Singh, a limited English proficient asylum seeker from India, wears a turban and beard as part of his Sikh articles of faith.
The allegations, which were made by a fellow passenger, were completely fabricated. The passenger profiled Mr. Singh and then alleged that he had been discussing a bomb threat with a second passenger. Mr. Singh was jailed for approximately 30 hours. During that time, local news outlets linked Mr. Singh’s name to terrorism charges.
“When you actually see something you should say something,” said Sikh Coalition Senior Staff Attorney, Gurjot Kaur. “However, what happens when you see nothing and concoct a story that is completely baseless because you don’t like the color of someone’s skin, their religious headwear, and the fact that they speak a different language? There must be consequences when bigotry and xenophobia trump common sense on a bus deep in the heart of Texas.”
The Sikh Coalition filed a complaint in Potter County against the first passenger for knowingly filing false charges against Mr. Singh, and an additional complaint was filed against two other passengers who unlawfully detained him on the bus. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Potter County prosecutors' offices cleared Mr. Singh of all criminal wrongdoing.
“Nobody deserves to be treated this way in our country,” said Ms. Kaur. “We trust that local law enforcement will treat our complaint with the same vigilance and vigor as the initial complaint received.”
We urge community members to review our FAQ guide on hate crimes
, hate speech and how to report incidents. Also, please view our printable hate crime poster
, which is in both English and Punjabi.
Please continue to use our new online tool, www.ReportHate.org
, to report incidents of harassment, discrimination and violence. We will use the confidential data to better target our outreach efforts to law enforcement, lawmakers and educators. To request legal assistance, please fill out our request legal assistance online form here
As always, we urge every Sikh to practice their faith fearlessly.