WSO deeply concerned by violent attack on Sikh high school student in Kelowna

THE World Sikh Organization of Canada said on Wednesday that it is deeply concerned by a violent attack on a Sikh high school student in Kelowna on Monday.

The grade 11 student was attacked while riding a BC Transit bus back from school.

This is the second attack on a Sikh student in Kelowna this year.  In March, Gagandeep Singh was also violently attacked while riding a bus.

In Monday’s incident, the Sikh student, who has asked to remain anonymous, was waiting for a BC Transit bus in front of Rutland Senior Secondary School around 3:45 p.m. Two individuals approached the student and first barred his entry onto the bus and then, once allowing him to board, began to threaten him with a lighter while photographing and recording him from a close distance with their phones.

When the Sikh student turned away, the attackers’ phone fell from their hands and they began to kick and punch him 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.

After deboarding the bus, the Sikh student was pepper sprayed by his attackers who continued to attack him, until bystanders intervened.

The RCMP has been informed of the attack and is investigating, the WSO said.

The Sikh student is a recent newcomer to Canada and did not understand why he was attacked or the slurs and insults that were hurled at him during the incident.

WSO Vice President for B.C., Guntaas Kaur, said: “Monday’s attack on a Sikh high school student in Kelowna is shocking and unacceptable. What is incredibly disappointing is that the BC Transit bus driver did not intervene and in fact removed both the attackers and the victim from the bus, leaving the Sikh student to fend for himself.  The Sikh high school student is recovering from his injuries and from the pepper spray but cannot understand why he was assaulted.  He is afraid to return to school for fear of being attacked again.  This is unfortunately the second attack on a Sikh student in Kelowna this year.

“We call on the RCMP to investigate this incident fully and bring the attackers to justice.  We also call on BC Transit to investigate why the driver in this incident did nothing to stop the attack and by removing the victim from the bus, allowed the attack to continue.”


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