for charges against Richmond Sikh boy for fake assault
claims that five white men cut his hair
VANCOUVER, Jun 6 2005
NRI Sikh community in British Columbia want to see
charges laid against a 17-year-old Sikh youth who
said five white men jumped him, ripped off his turban
and cut off his hair two weeks ago.
They say hate crimes are a serious matter, and incidents
such as this could diminish the response to real hate
crimes against Sikhs.
NRI, Shinder Purewal, a Sikh instructor at Kwantlen
University College, said the RCMP should lay charges
against the Richmond boy, who has not been identified.
He also said the boy's family should compensate the
police for any costs incurred during the investigation
of the fake hate crime, because they must have known
his story was untrue.
"I'm hoping and there are many in the
community who hope the RCMP lay some charges
against the boy and hopefully also against the family,"
Purewal told reporters over the weekend.
On Saturday, police said the youth admitted he made
up the story to account for the fact that he had cut
his own hair, even injuring himself to lend credibility
to his story of five men punching and robbing him.
For religious reasons, the boy's hair had never been
A similar claim by a youth in Surrey several years
ago also turned out to be a hoax.
Police wouldn't discuss a possible motive for the
incident, telling a news conference Saturday that
they haven't yet decided whether they will lay charges.
"I am really sorry for everything that has happened,"
the teenager, who has asked to remain anonymous, said
in a statement released by police on Saturday.
"I did not realize that it will become an issue
at such a large scale. My sincere apologies to my
family, friends, the RCMP and overall community
whose feelings I have hurt in this whole ordeal. I
have to work very hard to rebuild the trust I lost."
Sikh teen's hair cut off in beating
leader appeal for calm after hate crime
RICHMOND, June 1, 2005
Richmond police and Sikh leaders are asking for
public calm in the wake of a violent and racially
motivated attack on a 17-year-old Indo-Canadian youth
last week in a school park.
According to police, the victim was jumped and viciously
beaten by five Caucasian men in their early 20s as
he was walking home through school playing fields
outside Grauer elementary at around 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
NRI youth, a baptized Sikh, had his turban torn off
in the assault and a portion of his long hair cut
off by one of the thugs, who used an Exacto knife.
According to Shinder Purewal, a Sikh and professor
at Kwantlen University College, unshorn hair is considered
by Sikh faithful to be an integral part of the human
"Cutting the hair would be equivalent to chopping
off a body part," Purewal said.
Richmond RCMP Cpl. Peter Thiessen called the attack
on the youth "absolutely disgusting" and
vowed at a press conference Tuesday that police will
hunt down the people responsible.
"We're working with the [youth's] family --
they're absolutely devastated by this," Thiessen
Thiessen said police are investigating the incident
as a hate crime, as defined under the Criminal Code.
"It's one thing to assault and rob someone,"
he said, "but this takes things to a whole other
Thiessen said the suspects were playing basketball
in the courts behind Grauer elementary when the teen
victim walked by. They called out a racial slur, then
ran after him and punched him several times in the
Thiessen said the victim believes an X-Acto knife
was held to his throat while he was kicked in the
side and robbed of his wallet and personal papers,
while the thieves demanded money and marijuana.
The victim, a student at Hugh Boyd secondary, ran
home and called police.
Thiessen said the teen was taken to hospital, but
did not suffer serious physical injuries.
Police are now worried retaliation may be on the
minds of some members of the Sikh community as news
of the assault -- and its violation of Sikh religious
beliefs -- travels.
"We certainly need the Sikh community to remain
calm and not to overreact to this," Thiessen
Balwant Sanghera, spokesman for the Sikh Society
of the Lower Mainland, said the incident has "traumatized"
Richmond's Sikh community.
"I think the people who committed this heinous
crime need help," he said.
"This is not human."
Sanghera joined Thiessen in asking members of his
religious community to leave matters in the hands
"I'm not sure at this time how the community
is going to react. It's a very serious thing,"
he said. "We have some young men who may get
a little too excited."
But Purewal said a backlash from the Sikh community
"It was unnecessary to appeal for such things,"
Purewal said of the public call for peace.
"Sure, people get shocked when you hear of this
kind of violent incident, but to expect the community
to react is blowing things out of proportion.
"I don't think there will be people going out
there seeking revenge."
Anyone who may have seen the suspects playing basketball
Thursday afternoon or may know something about the
attack is asked to call Const. Mike Bhatti at 604-278-1212,