Sikh men harassed, denied access to US stadium due to turbans

  • PTI, San Francisco
  • Updated: Dec 14, 2015 19:05 IST
Sikh men denied access to San Diego stadium for wearing turbans. (Photo courtesy-Facebook)

A group of Sikh men were harassed by security staff and denied access to a stadium in San Diego city in California for an American football game because they were wearing turbans.

Verinder Malhi and his friends, who drove seven hours from Fresno to see the Broncos-Chargers game on December 6, were told that they could be allowed to enter only after they removed their turbans, 10News reported.

“Three of my buddies, they had turbans on, and it was like, you guys got to take the turbans off,” said Malhi, one of the Sikh men.

Security guards finally allowed the men into the Qualcomm stadium with their turbans, but Malhi claimed a security supervisor told him that if they ever come back, they should not wear turbans.

“It’s bad, I mean, this is embarrassing for me, because we are Americans at the end of the day. And we are not supposed to be afraid of fellow Americans,” he said.

Their humiliation was not-yet complete and their car was subjected to a search by a bomb-sniffing dog.

A fearful fan called police and claimed that three men wearing turbans were fiddling with items in their trunk, and had then left the parking lot.

Police told 10News the dog cleared the car.

Malhi said they had simply put a bag in the car after realising they were not allowed to take it in the stadium.

“Everybody is confusing us with the turbans, because you mostly see terrorists on TV wearing turbans.

But our turban is different, our faith is different, our beliefs are different,” Malhi said.

Last week, a Gurdwara was vandalized in Los Angeles suburbs with hateful graffiti addressed towards the Islamic state, Sikh community leaders have said, fearing this “hate crime” is a repercussion of the California shooting carried out by a husband and wife in which 14 people were killed.

The incident is the latest in a number of hate crimes against Sikhs in America.

In September, a Sikh-American father was viciously assaulted in a suburb outside of Chicago after being called ‘Bin Laden’.

In 2014, Sandeep Singh, a Sikh American father in New York City, was run over and dragged 30 feet after being called a ‘terrorist’.

In 2012, a gunman with Neo-Nazi ties walked into a Sikh gurdwara and shot and killed six innocent Sikh in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

US-based Sikhs have launched a national campaign to tackle the growing misperceptions about their community post 9/11 terror attacks.

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