Could have been mistaken for NY bombing suspect: Sikh ‘hero’

From Yoshita Singh New York, Sep 21 (PTI) The Sikh-American who helped policecapture the man wanted for the weekend bombings in New Yorkand New Jersey, said he feared he might have been mistaken asthe perpetrator because of the misconceptions about his faith. Harinder Singh Bains, 51, said he does not like beingcalled a hero for accurately identifying 28-year-old AhmadKhan Rahami, the Afghan-born American man behind the bombings. Asserting that he is "what America looks like," Bains saidhe did what any other American would have done. "When I heard about the attacks and realised the suspectwas sleeping in a doorway across the street, I did what anyAmerican would do. I called the police. I’m not a hero. Thepolice are heroes; the EMTs are heroes; everyone who isworking to bring New York and New Jersey together today is ahero," Bains, who owns a bar in Linden, told reporters. He said as a Sikh-American, he understand that "I couldhave been mistaken for the perpetrator. My faith teaches mejustice and tolerance for all and I know that I’m lucky tolive in a community that shares this view." Bains, who had emigrated from Chandigarh in 1996, stressedthat after any attack, Americans should target people based onevidence of their role in the crime and not because of theirfaith or their country of origin or their accent. "I came to this country from India 20 years ago to createa better life for my family. I am a father of four and a proudAmerican citizen. I am also what America looks like," he said. Bains said America is strongest when all Americans standtogether in the face of violence "intended to divide us." On the morning of September 19, Bains unlocked the door ofhis deli when he noticed Rahami sleeping in a vestibule nextto a tavern across the street. He later recognised Rahami’s face from television reportsfollowing the failed attacks and contacted police. When police arrived, Rahami allegedly shot an officer inthe abdomen and began a shoot-out with police that led to hisarrest. Bains had earlier said he thought Rahami "looked veryfamiliar" and "exactly" like the "guy" whose picture is beingshown on TV channels. "I kept wondering is he the same guy," Bains has saidadding he then asked a friend of his who visited him thatRahami looked exactly like the person whose pictures werebeing circulated by law enforcement agencies in connectionwith the bombing. Bains then called the police but didn’t not immediatelytell them that Rahami was in front of his store. He initially told the police that there is a "guy in frontof his bar who looks a little suspicious and does not lookgood to me" and that the police should come and check. The police then came within five minutes and all the whileBains kept an eye on Rahami as he had a strong feeling he isthe same person wanted for the bombings. "I’m just a regular citizen doing what every citizenshould do. Cops are the real heroes, law enforcement are thereal heroes," Bains has said. PTI YASABH


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