Queens To Host Rally Against Anti-Asian Hate After Sikh Man Attacked With Hammer

The victim believes he was targeted because of his religious attire, specifically his turban. He's upset that police are not yet investigating the attack as a hate crime. CBS2's Christina Fan reports.

Video Transcript

- That our top story, a rally against hate today, in Queens. It comes after surveillance video shows a Sikh man being attacked with a hammer. CBS 2's Christina Fan joins us live from Flushing, where the rally will be held later today. Good morning, Christina.

CHRISTINA FAN: Good morning, Cindy. The Queens borough president will be hosting today's rally at Flushing Town Hall. And it comes as we are learning more information about yet another attack. The victim believes he was targeted because of the religious attire he was wearing, specifically a turban. And he's upset the police aren't investigating this as a hate crime.

SUMIT AHLUWALIA: He pulled out the hammer from his pocket and bang on my head with such intensity.

CHRISTINA FAN: 32-year-old Sumit Ahluwalia is paying not only physically, but emotionally by this attack, caught on camera in the lobby of a Brooklyn hotel. He was working Monday morning at the Quality Inn in Brownsville as the operations manager, when a man entered the lobby, began yelling at the front desk staff, spit in his face three times, and bashed his head with a hammer.

SUMIT AHLUWALIA: He came [INAUDIBLE] back I said, hey brother what happened? You're not my brother, you're not the same skin, I don't like you.

CHRISTINA FAN: Do you think you were targeted because--

SUMIT AHLUWALIA: I can say that because I was only turban guy over there.

CHRISTINA FAN: The attack has left Ahluwalia, a Sikh father of two, who immigrated from India three years ago, completely shaken.

SUMIT AHLUWALIA: I'm scared some. But now when I'm going to work, like when I'm walking, I have some fear like maybe somebody coming.

JENIFER RAJKUMAR: Show me what America looks like.

- (ALL) This is what America looks like.

CHRISTINA FAN: Saturday, members of the South Asian and Sikh community were joined by politicians to speak out against anti-Asian hate.

JENIFER RAJKUMAR: Such a tragedy. That one of the kindest, most giving groups of people is also one of the greatest targets.

CHRISTINA FAN: Police have released these images of the suspect. The Sikh community wants the assault investigated 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 the year before. Ahluwalia says he came to the United States with a heart full of hope and just wants to belong.

SUMIT AHLUWALIA: People should know that these turban guys, they are here to help. We're not here to harm anyone. We are also here struggling and doing the job [INAUDIBLE] right. We wake up in the morning 6:00 AM, go home 7:00, 9:00 sometimes. And we don't deserve this.

CHRISTINA FAN: Ahluwalia suffered minor injuries to his head, which caused internal bleeding. He believes his turban helped prevent the hammer from inflicting more serious damage to his head. We're live from Flushing, Queens. Christina Fan, CBS 2 News.

- Christina, thank you.