A senior police officer in Toronto, who originally hails from Punjab, has attributed lack of leadership from within the community to cases of Punjabi youths in Canada going astray.
"We are second, third and even fourth generation Indians living in Toronto and other parts of Canada, but we are still to pick up ideals from within the community in the foreign land," pointed out Staff Sergeant Raj Biring, 43, among the senior Punjabi police officers in
Holding rank equivalent to SP's in India, Raj has worked in police department for the past 23 years. These days he is doing municipal level policing in Peel region of Ontario province. As per the statistics available locally, Peel region has the highest Punjabi and Sikh population.
"Our young boys are indulging in gang wars; about 225 young boys are arrested on the US-Canadian border while trying to transport drugs and a number of young boys and girls are consuming drugs," said Raj, who was born in England and belongs to village Chachoki in Jalandhar district in India.
He said that incidents of gang wars were reported in Vancouver, Manitoba and Calgary, apart from information that Toronto region also had a number of active gangs.
Though he refused to quote the number of Punjabi gangs operating in Canada, but said that the Canadian police have been seriously working to tackle the problem.
Brampton area of Toronto, which is part of Peel region, has considerable number of Punjabis who form about 25% of the total populace.
"With fast changing times, every community is passing through a difficult phase. But the point is what are we doing to address the issues of our community," Raj pointed, adding that the new generation of Indians was indulging more in criminal activities, as their parents were busy earning dollars and ignoring their children.
The police, according to Sergeant Raj, have launched different programmes to increase dialogue with the younger generation.
Dixie gurdwara president Jasjeet Singh Bhullar accepted the fact that members of the Punjabi community were indulging in drugs and gang wars and police also had been taking up the issue from time to time.
"But I don't agree that there is a lack of leadership," he asserted.
"If anyone is using drugs or liquor at home, it is the family who has to deal with that. During every function or congregation in the gurdwara, we have been appealing all to stay away from drugs," he further added.