I could have been mistaken for bombing suspect: NYC's Sikh 'hero'

'I am what America looks like,' said Bains, telling Americans that each time there is an attack, they should not target people based on their faith, c Photograph:( AFP )

WION New York, United States Sep 21, 2016, 05.41 AM (IST)
Harinder Singh Bains, the 51-year-old Sikh-American who helped police capture Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man wanted for the New York and New Jersey bombings, does not want to be called a hero. 

And as a Sikh-American, he says he understands that he could have been mistaken for the bomber, the Press Trust of India reported. 

"I could have been mistaken for the perpetrator. My faith teaches me justice and tolerance for all and I know that I'm lucky to live in a community that shares this view," he said. 

Bains asserted that he is "what America looks like." 

He stressed that each time an attack takes place, Americans should not target people based on their faith, country or accent, but on evidence of their role in the attack.  

"When I heard about the attacks and realised the suspect was sleeping in a doorway across the street, I did what any American would do. I called the police. I'm not a hero. The police are heroes; the EMTs are heroes; everyone who is working to bring New York and New Jersey together today is a hero," he told reporters. 

Bains migrated to the US in 1996 from Chandigarh in India to create a better life for his family, PTI reported. 

"I came to this country from India 20 years ago to create a better life for my family. I am a father of four and a proud American citizen. I am also what America looks like," he said.

He urged Americans to stand together in the face of violence. 

On September 19, he found the 28-year-old Rahami sleeping in front of a bar across the street from his deli. 

Bains recognised Rahami's face from television reports and called the police. He did not tell the police it was Rahami but that he had seen a "suspicious person" and that they should come have a look, PTI reported.  

Bains had said earlier that he thought the man "looked very familiar" and "exactly" like the "guy" who was on the news channels. 

When police arrived, the Afghan-American pulled out a gun and shot a police officer before he himself was arrested. 

(WION with inputs from PTI)


 
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