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21-year-old Sikh student attacked in Canada now recovering at home, say officials
Kewlona: Twenty-one-year-old Sikh student Gagandeep Singh is recovering at home after being assaulted in Canada's British Columbia province by unknown attackers who ripped off the student's turban in an attack that is being described as racially motivated, according to Global News.
The assault took place on the night of St. Patricks Day at a bus stop on Kelowna, the report stated. According to city councillor Mohini Singh, the incident took place at the corner the McCurdy Road and Highway 97 around 10:30 pm (local time) on March 17.
"He boarded bus 97 which was heading north towards Rutland. There was a group of approximately 12 to 15 young people (male and female) on the bus who were creating a ruckus and throwing a wig around," Singh said in a news release, Global News reported.
A member of the group threw a wig at Gagandeep Singh, who asked them to stop, the councillor said. "When they didn't, he threatened to call the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police]."
Singh's friend Navsher Sandhu said the bus driver also warned the group to settle down, Global Times reported.
According to his friends, Singh got off the bus and was followed by a group of people, who began attacking him.
The 21-year-old suffered injuries on his chest, mouth, arms and legs after being kicked and punched a number of times. His turban was removed and he was dragged on the ground by his hair. He was finally able to call his friend when the attackers left and was taken to hospital, Councillor Mohini Singh said.
"(Gagandeep) is at home barely able to move. He is so shaken up he is afraid to face the camera or speak to anyone," the councillor said
Kelowna lawyer Bal Grewal told Global News that Gagandeep was targeted because of his race. "He has a turban. He has full facial hair. The turban was ripped off, and the hair was pulled off," Grewal said.
On Sunday, the Kelowna RCMP issued a news release saying officers had received a report that a man had been assaulted at the bus stop near McCurdy Road and that officers had found the victim laying on the ground, with some of his friends already there trying to help.
"The Kelowna RCMP take this very seriously and are concerned that this type of crime has happened in our city. This assault is the top priority for our investigators," Const. Mike Della-Paolera said.
This is not the first time that Sikh Youth faced racial and hate crimes in the west.
In December last year, a 24-year-old Indian-origin Sikh man died of gunshot wounds in Alberta province of Canada. After the Edmonton medical examiner completed the autopsy, the police cited homicide as the reason for his death. The victim, identified as Sanraj Singh, was located by the police in southeast Edmonton when they responded to a gunshot report at around 8:40 pm (local time) on December 3, according to the statement released by the Edmonton police.
In October 2022, 62-year-old Sikh community leader Avtar Singh was assaulted in UK's Manchester. A 28-year-old UK man was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the assault. The 62-year-old Sikh priest was left with serious brain injury after the assault. (ANI)