Shocked by the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump, Sikhs in the US, most of whom wished Democrat Hillary Clinton to win, now want the president-elect to be considerate towards minorities and enact strong laws to stop hate crimes that the community is facing after the 9/11 terror attack.
Sikhs worry that hate crimes against them may see a rise as Trump during the poll campaign had taken a tough position against Muslims. In the past, Sikhs have been confused with Muslims and faced acts of violence.
Satnam Singh Chahal, who runs North America Punjabi Association (NAPA), demanded adequate measures for safety of Sikhs who live under a fear as their lives and properties are not safe in the US.
“Small businesses run by minorities need immunity. Sikhs and their children are not safe. They are bullied. The new president needs to frame laws to make all citizens of this country feel secure,” he said while adding that an advanced country such as the US should take along all the communities.
“There’s a big concern among minorities as Trump’s campaign had made some racial and religious minorities very nervous. The Sikh community had become the target of hate crimes in the recent weeks and some of that could be attributed to very explosive anti-Muslim comments coming out of Trump’s campaign over the past 15 months,” said Dr Rajwant Singh, founder chairman of Sikh Council on Religion and Education, based in Maryland, Washington.
Dr Singh, who supported Clinton and took active part in her campaign, “The president-elect has a big task, he needs to build a trust among citizens, and be careful with his utterances so that these do not encourage the fringe.”
He suggested stronger laws to check hate crimes against Sikhs.
“We were expecting her (Hillary) to win and we supported her wholeheartedly, but the results are disheartening for us,” said Harjit Singh Hundal of New Jersey, who runs transport business and works with the White House and the Indian embassy.
“I guess only 15% of the Indian diaspora, even lesser percentage of Punjabis, are happy over the poll results. We want him (Trump) to be more compassionate towards the non-residents and also be considerate about their rights. We need equal opportunities to work and prosper,” Hundal said, demanding a policy decision from the new dispensation to check hate crimes against Sikhs.
Of a total of around 34 lakh Indians in the US, there are 5 lakh Sikhs.
Tony Bhandal, a businessman based in California, is also concerned about the safety and security of Sikhs. “They (Sikhs) are doing well, and I am sure trump knows every bit of US, going by the kind of campaign he ran. He had mentioned that Sikhs are a hardworking community and they have gained prosperity,” he said in an optimistic tone
Sikhs’ wish list
· Frame strong laws to check hate crime against Sikhs
· Make sure properties and lives of Sikhs are safe
· Give equal opportunities of work to Punjabis and Sikhs
· Stop bullying of young children