In an apparent incident of hate crime, a man hurled racial slurs and kicked a 55-year-old Indian-origin woman in Singapore for not wearing a mask while she was brisk walking. Hindocha Nita Vishnubhai, a private tutor, was brisk walking on Friday morning when a man approached her and asked her to pull her mask up from her chin, her daughter Parveen Kaur was quoted as saying by the Channel News Asia on Monday.
Nita was walking along Choa Chu Kang Drive when the man came up to her near a bus stop outside Northvale condominium, according to the Channel report.
“She explained that she was brisk walking but he didn’t care. He hurled vulgarities and racial slurs at her,” Kaur said in a widely circulated Instagram post.
“My mum responded with a ‘God bless you’ and the guy kicked her in the chest. My mum landed on her back and hurt herself,” she said.
The man, whose identity is not yet known, ran away while the woman was left shaken and bleeding.
Kaur said her mother brisk walks to work as a form of daily exercise, but the incident has left her “afraid of taking a walk in her own country”.
A report has been lodged and investigations are underway, police said.
According to Singapore’s health ministry guidelines, all people in the island nation aged six and above are required to wear masks as part of the safety measures against COVID-19 when outside their homes. They may remove their mask while engaging in outdoor or strenuous exercise, including brisk walking or walking up hilly terrain, but must put it back on after exercising.
Those walking at a normal pace are required to wear a mask.
The attack on Nita came days after a similar incident reportedly took place at Pasir Ris area on May 2, when a man was caught on camera shouting at a family of Indian expatriates and accusing them of spreading Covid-19.
The online video shows that the man, believed to be a Singaporean, used derogatory terms against the family of four and asked them to “go back” and said they were “spreading the virus here”, the Straits Times newspaper reported.