A Hamilton taxi driver is off work for a month after being injured in what he believes was a racially charged assault.
Sukhjit-Singh Rattu, 29, was sitting in his car outside Hamilton Airport at 8.40pm on Tuesday when a man walked up to his vehicle and knocked on the window before opening the driver’s door.
“Before I could say something he straight away punched my eye,” Rattu told the Herald.
“When he noticed I was Indian, he got so angry and banged on my door window then straight away opened the driver’s side door and without saying a word punched on my eye, then said ‘f***ing Indian’.”
Rattu was left bleeding, unable to see out of one eye and with searing pain on the right side of his head.
“The punch was very heavy so I couldn’t hear all of what he said, but I heard him say ‘Oh, f***ing Indian’.”
Rattu believes he had overtaken the man on the motorway before they arrived at the airport at the same time, but said he did “nothing wrong” and the attack was racially motivated.
“I passed his car and moved to the left and carried on driving, that’s it,” he said.
Another taxi driver waiting nearby was on the phone to Rattu at the time of the alleged assault and took down the man’s car details. Rattu then made a complaint to police.
Police said inquiries are ongoing and no charges have been filed.
“Police are following lines of inquiry.”
Rattu has never been subject to racial slurs or assaults during his two and a half years as a taxi driver, and is “shocked” after the attack.
“I’m feeling bad because my eye is bad. I can’t even see properly,” he said.
He is unfit to work for four weeks.
He urged other taxi drivers to be vigilant.
“If someone approached your taxi, lock your car. Move your car backwards.
“Don’t let them harm you. In my case he just punched me, but what if he had a knife or another weapon? Luckily it was just a punch.
“Don’t try to fight back because you never know.”
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