Assault on Sikh Student in Canada Sparks Strong Response from Indian Consulate
16 September, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava
The 17-year-old Sikh student was either bear or pepper sprayed by another teenaged male after exiting a public transit bus on his way home.
The Consulate General of India in Vancouver has strongly denounced an assault on a Sikh student in Canada’s British Columbia province and has called for swift action against the culprits.
The incident occurred on September 11 when a 17-year-old Sikh student was either sprayed with beer or pepper spray by another teenager after disembarking from a public transit bus on his way home. The attack took place at the intersection of Rutland Rd S and Robson Rd E in British Columbia, as reported by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Consulate General of India in Vancouver took to X (formerly Twitter) to express its condemnation, stating, “@cgivancouver strongly condemns assault on an Indian national in Kelowna and requests Canadian authorities to investigate the incident and take prompt action against the perpetrators.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provided details, saying, “On September 11th, 2023, just before 4:00 pm, Kelowna RCMP were dispatched to a pepper spray incident at the intersection of Rutland Rd S and Robson Rd E. Officers determined a 17-year-old Sikh student was either bear or pepper sprayed by another teenaged male after exiting a public transit bus on his way home.” An altercation on the bus had occurred prior to the spray incident, leading to those involved being directed off the bus. The police have identified the teenage suspect, and several witness statements have been obtained.
The statement further explained, “After exiting the bus, a second incident occurred where the suspect male deployed bear spray on the victim.” Bystanders alerted the police, who arrived promptly and are actively investigating the incident, gathering witness statements and identifying the teenage suspect.
Authorities are also collecting CCTV evidence and other relevant information to determine the motive behind the crime.
Kelowna City Councillor Mohini Singh, speaking to Media, revealed that the student had only been in the city for around five months and had limited English proficiency. She strongly condemned the attack, describing it as “totally unacceptable” and expressing concern for the traumatized student.
According to Mohini Singh, the student is in shock and deeply affected by the incident. She emphasized his positive relationship with teachers and his enthusiasm for school. She remarked on the shockwaves this incident sent through the Indo-Canadian community, highlighting that it was “absolutely despicable.”
This incident marks the second attack on a Sikh student in the central Interior city this year. On March 17, another Indian Sikh student, Gagandeep Singh, was also attacked, as reported by CBC News. At the time, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police indicated that consultations with their hate crimes unit were underway.
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