Sikh teen assaulted in Canada, one person arrested

Police have arrested a person for allegedly assaulting a Sikh teen at a bus stop after an altercation with another teenager in Canada's British Columbia province recently.

Sikh teen allegedly assaulted in Canada, Photo Courtesy: RCMP X page

Kelowna Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they arrested a young man on Wednesday who was involved in Monday's assault, reports CTV News Vancouver.

Law enforcement officers said the incident happened on Monday (September 11, 2023)  at the intersection of Rutland Road South and Robson Road East in Kelowna city.

"Officers determined a 17-year old Sikh student was either bear or pepper sprayed by another teenaged male after exiting a public transit bus on his way home," read a statement issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Just prior to the spray incident, there was an altercation inside the bus, resulting in those involved being directed off of the bus, police said.

"After exiting the bus, a second incident occurred where the suspect male deployed bear spray on the victim," the police said.

Police said the motive behind the crime is still unknown.

Meanwhile, the World Sikh Organization of Canada has expressed concern over the incident.

In its statement, the organisation said: "The grade eleven 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."

"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 and  photograph and record him from a close distance with their phones," the statement said.

"When the Sikh 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," read the statement.

"After deboarding the bus, the Sikh student was pepper sprayed by his attackers and they continued to attack him, until bystanders intervened," the statement said.

WSO said the Sikh student came to Canada recently and could not understand the reason behind the attack.

WSO Vice President for British Columbia 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."