A Sikh living in Queenstown is demanding more serious charges for a drunken man who allegedly snatched his turban from his head.
Mortified Jasmail Singh, 26, says Monday night’s incident was the first time his hair has been seen in public his whole life.
Punjabi Singh was outside the Camp Street McDonald’s, where he has worked for six months, helping another crew member deal with drunks jumping on his car.
“He came from behind and took my turban from my head forcibly,” Singh alleges.
“I have never shown my hair in public – it is against my religion. It is very embarrassing for me.
“When he took the turban off, my hair fell out. I went downstairs because I did not want to show my hair. I started crying – it was very shocking for me.”
Singh’s fellow crew members retrieved the turban and Sky Bar bouncers later detained a man.
A 19-year-old Scotsman was arrested shortly before midnight and charged with disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence.
Queenstown sergeant Kate Pirovano says: “He was drunk and probably didn’t realise the seriousness of his actions.”
But Singh, who must notify the Sikh Society in Auckland about the incident, says the action should carry more serious charges.
“It should be classed as an assault,” he says
“In India it is taken very seriously, a serious crime. A police officer once knocked someone’s turban off and he lost his job.
“This has never happened before to me. I lived in Invercargill for four years and it has never happened.”
Singh praised police constable Aaron Redaelli who was on the scene and his fellow workers who helped him.