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Columbia Spectator Staff

A Columbia professor was assaulted Saturday night while walking in East Harlem in an incident police are investigating as a possible hate crime.


School of International and Public Affairs professor Prabhjot Singh, an observant Sikh who wears a turban and has a beard, was walking along 110th Street near Lenox Avenue when he was knocked down and beaten, the Huffington Post first reported Saturday, citing a police source.

A police spokesperson told Spectator that the attackers "made anti-Muslim statements and then they began punching the victim in the face," but declined to identify the name of the victim.

Singh's friend and colleague, Simran Jeet Singh—of no relation to the professor—visited him in the hospital and confirmed that he was the victim.

A group of at least 20 "young males rode up on bikes, surrounded him and started punching him," Simran Singh said in an email, adding that the assailants shouted "Get Osama!" and "Terrorist!" Another Sikh American, who wanted to remain anonymous, was also assaulted, he said.

Simran Singh said that the professor's injuries range from a fractured jaw to bruising and swelling across his face, and that he was discharged from the hospital slightly after midnight on Saturday. He added that the professor had met with officials from the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, as well as the Columbia Department of Public Safety.

Prabhjot Singh is a practicing doctor in East Harlem and the co-chair of the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign, a United Nations program, according to the SIPA website. His research focuses on community-based health care delivery.

Luke Barnes contributed reporting.  |  @cmeyer201

SIPA Sikh Hate Crime