Sikh Demands Accountability After Texas Terror Accusation
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 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.
“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.”
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Mr. Singh, a limited English proficient asylum seeker from India, wears a turban and beard as part of his Sikh articles of faith. These articles, which represent equality, justice and tolerance for all, remain routinely misunderstood and falsely linked to terrorism in the United States.
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. Additional passengers then unlawfully restrained him until law enforcement arrived. 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 the two other passengers who unlawfully detained him on the bus.
In the 15 years that have followed 9/11, Sikhs remain hundreds of times more likely to be targeted in cases of profiling, bigotry and backlash than the average American. Sikhism, the fifth largest religion in the world, has been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years.
“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.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Potter County Attorney’s Office cleared Mr. Singh of all criminal wrongdoing.
Mr. Singh is unavailable for media interviews, but for photos or to schedule interviews with family or legal counsel, please contact Mark Reading-Smith or Jagmeet Singh.