By Lalit K Jha
A Sikh man in the US has filed charges against individuals who falsely accused him of making a bomb threat resulting in his unlawful detention on a bus.
"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 Daljit Singh, who on February 21, while travelling on a Greyhound bus through Amarillo, Texas, was falsely accused by a fellow passenger of making a terroristic threat.
"I still cannot believe that this happened to me in America," Singh said after the Sikh Coalition, a community- based organisation, filed a complaint on his behalf with Texas law enforcement agencies.
An asylum seeker from India, Singh wears a turban and beard as part of his Sikh articles of faith.
The complaint claims that the allegations, which were made by a fellow passenger against Singh, were completely fabricated.
The passenger profiled Singh and then alleged that he had been discussing a bomb threat with a second passenger.
Other passengers then unlawfully restrained him until law enforcement officials arrived, the Sikh Coalition said in a statement.
"Singh was jailed for approximately 30 hours. During that time, local news outlets linked Singh's name to terrorism charges," it alleged.
"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 colour 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," she said.