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India strongly condemns assault on Sikh student in Canada, calls for prompt action

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The Consulate General of India in Vancouver has strongly condemned the assault on a Sikh student in Canada’s British Columbia province and called for prompt action against perpetrators.

The 17-year-old Sikh student was either “beer or pepper sprayed” by another teenage student after exiting a public transit bus on his way home on September 11.

The Indian student was assaulted at the intersection of Rutland Rd S and Robson Rd E in Canada’s British Columbia, according to a statement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Consulate General of India in Vancouver stated, “@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 in a statement said, “On September 11th, 2023, just before 4:00pm, 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.”

It said there was an altercation on the bus prior to the beer spray incident which resulted in those involved being directed off the bus. Police said that several witness statements have been obtained and the teenaged suspect has been identified.

“After exiting the bus, a second incident occurred where the suspect male deployed bear spray on the victim,” it said.

The statement further said, “Bystanders called the police who attended and are actively investigating this incident. Several witness statements have been obtained and the teenaged suspect in this incident has already been identified.”

According to the statement, investigators are still collecting CCTV evidence and other relevant information including taking steps to determine the motivation behind crime.

Speaking to CBC News, Kelowna City Councillor Mohini Singh said that the student had only been in the city for around five months and spoke little English.

She termed the attack “totally unacceptable.” She said that the student is in a “state of shock” and is “absolutely traumatized.”

“He loves going to school. He has a great rapport with his teachers. No problem there,” she said. “He is absolutely traumatized. He’s in a state of shock,” CBC News quoted Mohini Singh as saying.

Mohini Singh said she met the teenager, and that he was hardly able to lift his head from his chest. She said, “This has sent shockwaves through the community,” the councillor said. “The Indo-Canadian community is shocked by this … this is absolutely despicable.”

It’s 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, according to CBC News report. At the time, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said investigators were carrying out consultations with their hate crimes unit.