ME THINKS … by Rattan – News behind the news: Week of Saturday, May 23 (updated constantly)






Photos by Chandra Bodalia
Photos by Chandra Bodalia

ME THINKS SIKH Guru Nanak Marg BodTHERE is shock in the community after a Punjabi journalist fired off a letter to a Surrey Councillor, demanding to know what happened to two road signs in Punjabi and English near Surrey’s two main gurdwaras.

Gurpreet Singh Sahota (Lucky) wrote: “In ex-mayor Doug McCallum era, City installed Punjabi signage on the back road of Gurdwara Dasmesh Darbar (86 Ave.) stated as … DASMESH MARG and on the back road of Guru Nanak Sikh Temple (122 Street) stated as … GURU NANAK MARG. Both signage were in Punjabi and stayed there for couple of years. Now they are missing. One of my friends called city staff about it and they replied nothing is shown in record.

“I understand, you were not in city hall that time but can you check what happened? Did they change the names of the roads in record or just put the signage? Either way, please try to reinstall them.”


I found photos of the two road signs in my photo file. The sign for Guru Nanak Gurdwara (“Guru Nanak Marg” at 122nd Street) was in Punjabi, while that for Dashmesh Darbar Gurdwara (“Dasmesh Marg” at 130th Street and 86th Avenue) was in English.

I forwarded the letter along with the photos of the signs to the City’s media relations head Oliver Lum on Wednesday but he has so far been unable to get any information for me.


ON the other hand, Prince George is likely to have Punjabi street signs as two gurdwaras – Guru Gobind Singh Temple and Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple – have requested the city to add Punjabi to some signs in the city. They say their buildings can be tricky to find, especially for native Punjabi speakers, according to a local newspaper.

Signs on Highway 97 North and South, Highway 16 West, Ospika Boulevard, and Davis Road will have Punjabi added to the existing English, once the costs have been estimated and if the city council agrees to give the Punjabi signs the green light.

Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall says the signs would be reflective of the growing cultural diversity in Prince George.


SO what is the City of Surrey up to?

Why aren’t South Asians assertive for their rights – the RIGHT type of rights?









Deepan Budlakoti
Deepan Budlakoti

IN the past I have written strongly in favour of Deepan Budlakoti, 25, a Canadian-born Indian (South Asian), being KICKED OUT of Canada in view of his criminal record.

Last September I wrote in this newspaper how he would remain stateless after a Federal Court of Canada judge rejected his claim for Canadian citizenship.

I wrote: “Budlakoti was ordered deported in 2011 after being sentenced to three years for weapons and drug offences, but India’s position is that he is not an Indian citizen. Because of a technicality – his parents were reportedly employed with the then-Indian high commissioner, which meant that their kid had diplomatic immunity – his Canadian birth didn’t give him the automatic right to citizenship.

“But Budlakoti argued he was born a few months after his parents stopped working for the high commission and that that had been confirmed by the then-high commissioner. He has an Ontario birth certificate and was issued a Canadian passport, but the government maintains that he shouldn’t have been issued a passport.

“Justice Michael Phelan rejected Budlakoti’s sworn affidavits and accepted what he said were more reliable documentary evidence that indicated his parents left the Indian High Commission in December 1989, two months after his birth.”

Budlakoti has alleged racism in the past and his lawyer alleged to The Globe and Mail in 2013 that some convicted white felons, like Conrad Black and Brenda Martin, have gotten the red-carpet treatment.


THIS week, the Ottawa Citizen reported that a lawyer for Citizenship and Immigration Canada argued in the Federal Court of Appeal that Budlakoti wasn’t “stateless” just because he has no citizenship anywhere and that he first needs to ask India about the possibility of getting citizenship.

But the fact is that India has already refused Canada’s request to issue him travel documents because as far as that country is concerned he is NOT an Indian citizen – he’s Canada’s problem!

Budlakoti is hoping the Federal Court of Appeal allows him to stay on here.

Budlakoti’s parents became Canadian citizens but they apparently took it for granted that he was a Canadian citizen because of being born here.

Government lawyer Korinda McLaine told the court that Budlakoti lost his permanent resident status because of his own criminality.

Very true, indeed!

McLaine argued that “The best evidence of statelessness would be if India actually said No,” adding that he had not applied for citizenship in India.

Budlakoti’s lawyer Paul Champ, however, pointed out that his client had had two Canadian passports and only came to know of the problem when he was in jail and the government was taking steps to deport him.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that Champ called the case “very difficult” and “unique.”

He’s absolutely right.

We’ll have to wait and see what the three judges decide in their wisdom.

However, looking at the whole case at this point of time, I think Budlakoti should be given a last chance to prove that he is serious about being a good citizen.

The fact is, as I see it, India will NOT accept him – neither will any other country.

So is Canada going to toss him into the ocean?

Why waste any more time, energy and resources on this legal battle?

The federal government has already made an UTTER FOOL of itself in the Omar Khadr case – BUT don’t expect Prime Minister Stephen Harper to do what is right because it is ELECTION TIME and he has to play DIRTY POLITICS!

In any case, where are we going to send Budlakoti?








I just can’t understand why police forces often hide crime incidents from the public instead of revealing them right away so that members of the public can assist them as soon as possible and thus possibly prevent more such crimes from taking place!

The latest such example is the Surrey RCMP’s much belated announcement about a series of taxi cab robberies. Five separate robberies have occurred within Surrey’s Guildford area since April 3, but we just learned of them today – almost two months after the first incident.

Police say that the method used in the crime appear to be similar – cabbies called to non-existent addresses and then robbed at knife-point. And the suspects are believed to be a black male, a white male and a white female, although they have used disguises to try and hide their identities.

Police claim they are now informing the public because they are concerned about the robbers’ behaviour getting more violent as there have been two minor injuries reported so far. They also say they are reviewing video surveillance footage along with crime analyst reports to identify the suspects.

So why didn’t police inform the media right from the first incident and start a mass publicity drive to try and identify the suspects – or at least deter them? Wouldn’t they have thought twice before trying another robbery if they knew that the public were watching out for them?

It seems that police forces try and hide crimes so that they avoid bad publicity. They wait to catch the culprits first so that they can then make a dramatic announcement and get praise.

And it doesn’t seem to matter if members of the public get hurt or killed. Often you hear the vague excuse that they were “trying to protect the integrity of the case” or some such baloney. I know that they have to conceal some details to do that, but they don’t have to hide the fact that such a crime did take place.

All the time we suddenly learn that there have been so many arsons or robberies or shootings and so on and the media was kept in the dark. Sometimes the cops only make an announcement when a journalist learns of the crime and calls them up; then they have no choice!


POLICE forces should also be aware that they can be sued by victims if they don’t issue timely warnings about a crime. Remember the famous case of “Jane Doe” who successfully sued the Toronto Police for negligence in the notorious ‘Balcony Rapist’ case?

Paul Callow stalked women in Toronto in the summer of 1986, climbing to their second or third storey balconies and sexually assaulting them. In 1998, a court awarded “Jane Doe” $220,000 in general and special damages.

So I guess taxi drivers who were robbed after the first or second incident could hire a good lawyer and sue Surrey RCMP.

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