Toronto: A Sikh student from India was attacked by a group of unknown men who ripped off his turban and dragged him across the sidewalk by his hair in the Canadian province of British Columbia, according to a media report.
Gagandeep Singh, 21, was swarmed and beaten near Highway 97 and McCurdy Road in Kelowna after he got off a transit bus on March 17, CTV News reported.
Gagandeep was heading home after grocery shopping when he encountered a group of young boys, between 12 and 15 years-old on the bus.
“They were harassing him and they threw a wig at him. He told them not to bother him or he’d call the police, and they continued to harass him,” Kelowna City Councillor Mohini Singh told CTV News.
“They got off after him, waited for the bus to leave and then they swarmed him, they beat him in his face, in his ribs, arms, and legs and then proceeded to grab his turban, pull his hair and drag him,” Singh said.
She further said that the group took the turban with them when they left Gagandeep in a pile of “dirty snow” on the side of the road.
Gagandeep then called a friend who came to the scene and dialled 911. He was treated for a wide range of injuries on his chest, mouth, arms and legs at Kelowna General Hospital, according to the report.
Singh, who visited Gagandeep at his home, said she was “horrified” after she saw him.
“He could only speak in soft tones and he couldn’t open his mouth,” she told CTV News, adding that the young man’s eyes were swollen shut and he was in pain.
Calling the incident “intolerable” and “absolutely disgusting”, Singh said it should be treated as a “racist attack”.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) of Kelowna said in a statement that they are investigating the incident in which someone was “hit from behind and assaulted” by a group of people.
“The Kelowna RCMP take this very seriously and are concerned that this type of crime has happened in our city,” spokesperson Constable Mike Della-Paolera said in a statement.
“This assault is the top priority for our investigators.”
Meanwhile, shaken and scared, international students and members of the Sikh community gathered on Sunday morning near a Kelowna bus stop to seek justice for Gagandeep.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Gagandeep’s friends to cover his medical expenses, rent, and tuition fees.
“Kelowna is a welcoming and diverse community, filled with residents who are full of love and compassion. Together we can show that there’s no place for hate and violence in our community,” the fundraising page said.
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