SOUTH Asians are baffled and angry at Vancouver Police’s decision not to lay charges against the white man who urinated on the memorial monument to commemorate the Komagata Maru at Harbour Green Park in Coal Harbour in Vancouver.
Asian Journal broke the story in the first week of December and there was widespread condemnation of the behaviour of the man.
Vancouver Police Sgt. Randy Fincham told Asian Journal on Monday in an email: “The young man believed to have been involved in the incident has been identified and spoken too. As a result of the investigation, it was determined that charges would not be laid.”
To my questions: “But why exactly are the charges not being laid? Is he mentally challenged?”, Randy merely replied: “In laying a charge, investigators would need to establish that a criminal offence took place, laying a charge was in the public interest and that there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction. In this case, it was determined that all three criteria had not been established.”
AS reported in this newspaper last month, a visitor from India and his friend who were visiting the memorial monument were allegedly threatened by the man who they say was very confrontational and attempted to engage in a physical altercation.
He made many remarks and asked: “What are you guys trying to prove?” He reportedly threw a soccer ball at the memorial. Then he urinated on the memorial and was photographed. A police complaint was made.
Asian Journal posted the story on its website www.AsianJournal.ca and sent the link to the mainstream media because we believe that such blatant acts of racism should get the widest possible exposure.
Following media inquiries about this, the Vancouver Park Board issued a statement.
“On behalf of my fellow Commissioners, we are saddened and deeply offended by this disgraceful act,” said Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth. “The monument was created in partnership with the Khalsa Diwan Society to embrace multiculturalism and remind people about the devastating impact that racial intolerance and discrimination have had upon our community.”
Parks staff cleaned the monument.
Vancouver Police first said that their hate crimes investigator was also looking at the file, but later said that they did not believe that this was a hate crime focused on any one particular group and the investigation was closed at this point.
That angered the South Asian community that felt that Vancouver Police were biased.
What is worse, the Vancouver Police spokesperson told the media that the white man was fairly intoxicated – something that the visitor from India and his friend said was not true.
DURING Question Period in the House of Commons last month, Tim Uppal, federal Minister of State for Multiculturalism, said: “This is indeed a disgraceful act, and we are pleased that the Vancouver police are investigating it further. This shameful incident of desecration is very upsetting.”
The Komagata Maru Monument commemorates the 376 Punjabi passengers who were aboard the ship which was turned away upon arriving on Canadian shores in 1914.
“The tragic events of the Komagata Maru were a regrettable chapter in Canada’s history,” added Uppal. “That is why our Conservative Government worked with the Khalsa Diwan Society to build this important monument and why Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the first to officially apologize for what happened to the passengers of the Komagata Maru on behalf of all Canadians.”
In spring 2014, Canada Post will mark the 100th year anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident by issuing a commemorative stamp. The idea and request for a commemorative stamp of the Komagata Maru incident was a result of the efforts of Parm Gill, Member of Parliament for Brampton-Springdale, said Uppal.
– RATTAN MALL