Jaspreet Singh a medical student aged 21 was sitting at a Columbus Coffee Cafe at the Auckland Cafe waiting for his professor when suddenly police arrived pulled him outside for questioning. The police stated that a woman was concerned about “a guy with some wires in his bag”.
Jaspreet showed the police the wires from his bags were from his headphones he wore when he entered the coffee shop. The police apologized to Singh and were on their way.
Jaspreet Singh took to social media:
“I think today’s incident was driven by some racial biases, large amounts of ignorance and most importantly, by fear,” he wrote.
“A lot of the things that are happening in the world right now are scary. But we can’t let fear control our lives.”
Local media TVNZ reported on the incident:
Mr Singh said he wasn’t interested in naming and shaming the woman who called police, saying he was even thankful to her for raising this issue – but he said not everyone would take it so well.
“Experiences like this can really make people from minorities question whether they belong in our community,” he told ONE News Now.
“An individual that is already marginalised and is on the fence- events like these can easily push them over to become extremists.
“Since the Paris attacks people are a bit on the edge – we do need people to keep their fear in check.
“We know that because of these events people are scared – but they can’t let fear of these events control their actions.”
Mr Singh believes that some of the responsibility for having Sikh culture become more widely understood in New Zealand rests on Sikhs, who need to “get our culture out there and not keep it to ourselves”.
“Most New Zealanders are good enough to tell the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim and a terrorist – these are all completely different things,” he said.
“It’s a shame people are still making that mistake.”
With inputs from TVNZ