‘Are you Taliban?’: Passengers assault Sikh musician-turned-cabbie in Reading


One of the four passengers — all described as white — pulled at the taxi driver's turban as he was driving and slapped him on the head, while others kicked and punched the back of the driver's seat.  (Represenational image: iStock)
One of the four passengers — all described as white — pulled at the taxi driver's turban as he was driving and slapped him on the head, while others kicked and punched the back of the driver's seat. (Represenational image: iStock)

By S Neeraj Krishna



POLICE have launched an investigation after a Sikh music teacher, who had taken up taxi driving due to Covid constraints, was assaulted by passengers in an alleged hate crime in Reading.

Vaneet Singh, 41, said that a group of four men slapped and shoved him, after he picked them up from the Grosvenor Casino in Berkshire, in the wee hours of Sunday (20).

One of the four passengers — all described as white — pulled at his turban as he was driving and slapped him on the head, while others kicked and punched the back of the driver’s seat.



Singh said he tried in vain to explain the religious significance of the turban, and asked them not to touch it. One of the passengers asked him “are you Taliban”, while another tried to remove his turban.

The musician, who lived in Tilehurst with his wife and three children, said he was left shaken by the assault.

“It was a very bad experience. It’s my religion, so I respect my turban,” he told the BBC.



“It was horrible, really frightening… I will never work the nightshift again. I’m still very scared.”

Singh, who worked as a music teacher at a school in Slough, Berkshire, turned to taxi driving after his teaching job was stalled during the pandemic.

Singh, a news report said, was “convinced the attack was of a racist nature and he was a victim of hate crime”.



A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said a probe was initiated, and appealed for witnesses.