A Sikh man was verbally abused by two racist thugs and had his turban torn off while up to 40 onlookers stood by and did nothing.

The attack on Rattandeep Singh Ahluwalia in Oxford city centre comes a day after 19-year-old student Tom Grant was stabbed to death on a train after going to somone's aid.

Mr Ahluwalia was waiting at a bus stop outside HSBC bank in Queen Street at midnight on Sunday when a man started swearing and shouting racist insults at him.

The stranger grabbed hold of the 26-year-old's turban a traditional head-dress worn as a sign of devotion to God and threw it on the pavement.

As Mr Ahluwalia struggled to defend himself, another man waved his fists in his face and also shouted racist abuse.

The former student, who was heading home to Whitson Place, Cowley, after a day of praying in London, was shocked none of the people around him tried to help.

He said: "I was really scared. No-one showed any sympathy. There were at least 30 to 40 people and no-one did anything.

"He could have stabbed me."

He was not seriously injured but has been left traumatised and shaken by the attack.

He added: "A turban is part of a Sikh's religion, our costume. What that man did was the biggest sign of disrespect and the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me in my life."

Mr Ahluwalia, who moved to the city to study for a Masters at Oxford Brookes University, has also criticised the police for not understanding the significance of what happened to him.

He said when the officers arrived, he was standing against the wall petrified to be seen in public with his hair exposed, but was forced to run over the road to meet them.

Mr Ahluwalia said: "I always thought this was the best city I have ever been to in my life. Now I will not go out late at night on my own."

This is the first time Mr Ahluwalia has been physically attacked.

Oxford police spokesman Kate Smith said officers attended the racially-aggravated common assault on Sunday at 12.12am but no arrests hade been made.

She added: "We take all racist incidents extremely seriously and a thorough investigation is under way."

The attack has been condemned by members of the Sikh community, including Gurdip Singh Saini, vice-chairman of the Asian Cultural Centre in East Oxford. He said: "It is very shocking. These sorts of incidents are increasing day by day in the UK and it is getting worse. It is all the more wrong that no-one came to his rescue."

Anyone with information should call Pc Chris Miles via 08458 505505 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.