The Consulate General of India in Vancouver strongly condemned the assault of a 17-year-old Sikh high school student at a bus stop in Canada’s British Columbia province and called for prompt action against perpetrators. The high school student was assaulted at the intersection of Rutland Road South and Robson Road East on Monday in an apparent case of hate crime.
According to a local media report, the Sikh student was allegedly “kicked, punched and pepper-sprayed” after an altercation with another teenager.
“Officers determined a 17-year-old Sikh student was either beer or pepper sprayed by another teenage male after exiting a public transit bus on his way home,” said a statement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Before the assault, there was “an altercation” aboard a bus, which resulted in those involved being kicked off, said the police.
“@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 Consulate General of India said in a social media post.
The World Sikh Organisation of Canada has alleged that the student was also assaulted while aboard the vehicle.
The student was reportedly waiting for a BC Transit Bus in front of Rutland Senior Secondary School when two individuals initially prevented him from boarding the bus. Subsequently, they allowed him to enter but began to verbally threaten him, brandishing a lighter and recording him from a close distance with their mobile phones, according to the World Sikh Organization of Canada.
“When the student turned away, the attackers’ phone fell from their hands and they began to kick and punch the Sikh student in front of the bus driver. The bus driver did not intervene and in fact, ordered the Sikh student and his attackers off the bus at the Rutland and Robson stop,” the organisation said in a statement.
After disembarking the bus, the victim was subjected to further violence, including being pepper-sprayed by the attackers until the bystanders eventually intervened.
“Monday’s attack on a Sikh high school student in Kelowna is shocking and unacceptable,” Guntaas Kaur, WSO vice-president for British Columbia was quoted as saying.
This is the second such instance of violence against a Sikh youth riding public transit in the city this year.
Earlier in March, a 21-year-old Sikh student from India, Gagandeep Singh, was attacked in British Columbia province by a group of unidentified men who ripped off his turban and dragged him across the sidewalk by his hair.