THE Ottawa Police Service Robbery Unit is investigating a weekend swarming that it said would appear to have racial overtones.
On March 23, at approximately 11:25 p.m., the male victim had left his place of employment near the Westgate Mall, and was waiting for a bus at Carling / Merivale.
The victim was approached by two suspects, who asked the victim about his ethnicity, and about cutting his beard and hair. The two suspects left but then returned and asked for change.
The suspects started to make racial slurs, and one suspect produced a knife. The victim ran to a nearby business but could not gain entry through the locked doors. He was then assaulted by the two suspects, dragged on the ground, and threatened. He sustained minor injuries, and was treated at the scene by paramedics.
The suspects removed and stole the victim’s turban, as well as his phone and bus pass, police said.
VOICE points out: This incident is quite obviously the result of anti-Sikh articles in a certain section of mainstream media, especially Postmedia publications, that have been attacking Sikhs left, right and centre and creating racism across the country with distorted news and analysis as was alleged by the World Sikh Organization:
Police described the two suspects as follows:
#1: White male, in his 20’s, approximately 5’10” (178 cm), clean shaven, short blonde/brown hair. He was wearing a orange type sweatshirt, blue jeans, and runners.
#2: White male, in his 20’s, approximately 5’6” (168 cm), clean shaven. He was wearing blue track pants or PJ’s
Part of the investigation that will be taking place will be to ascertain if this was a hate-motivated crime, police said.
Anyone with information regarding this robbery, or any other robbery, is asked to call the Ottawa Police’s Robbery Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5116. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by downloading the Ottawa Police app.
MEANWHILE, the World Sikh Organization of Canada said it is deeply disturbed by the attack. It noted that over the past several weeks, it has repeatedly expressed concern that intolerance towards Sikhs is on the rise in Canada.
WSO President Mukhbir Singh said: “We are shocked by the attack on a Sikh male in Ottawa last week. We had feared that recent accusations of extremism and radicalism against the Sikh community would lead to a rise in intolerance against Sikhs – this incident would appear to substantiate those fears. The forcible removal of a Sikh’s turban is considered the greatest insult a Sikh can be subjected to and is being taken very seriously by the community. We call on the Ottawa Police Service to investigate this incident as a hate crime and ensure that those responsible are quickly brought to justice. We encourage members of the Sikh community to remain vigilant as more details emerge about this assault.”