South Asian community lobbies for charges against urine vandal
A man who was photographed peeing on a memorial to victims of the Komagata Maru incident will not be charged say Vancouver police. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
Members of the South Asian community are lobbying police to lay charges against a man who desecrated a memorial for victims of a notorious incident of racism.
On Dec. 2, a man urinated on the Komagata Maru memorial and Vancouver police have chosen not to lay charges against him, saying the criteria for criminal charges had not been met. As a result, the man got off without so much as a ticket — the only consequence being a lecture by police.
“The bylaw ticket wouldn’t be sufficient to show the South Asian community that this person was remorseful for what he did so we’re looking at going the educational route with this man,” said Sgt. Randy Fincham in a press conference Tuesday.
Efforts are underway to arrange a meeting between representatives of the South Asian community and Mayor Gregor Robertson for Wednesday afternoon.
For Balwant Sanghera, a prominent member of the city’s South Asian community, a police lecture isn’t enough.
“It was totally disrespectful to the community, totally disrespectful for the people who came and who suffered,” he said. “Now on top of that, the police aren’t laying any charges. The community is very resentful of that too.”
The memorial is dedicated to South Asian immigrants coming to Canada in 1914. Most of the immigrants were turned away, even though India was a British colony at the time. When they returned to India, 19 of those on the boat were killed and the majority of them were detained throughout the First World War.