An Indo-Canadian Sikh was assaulted by four men in Quebec City last weekend in what appears to be a racially motivated attack that drew condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Supninder Singh Khehra, an Indian citizen originally from Patiala and a resident of the Toronto suburb of Brampton, was beaten by the men who seemed to be drunk.
He was punched in the eye and kicked when he fell. Khehra attributed the attack to his race and the headgear he was wearing, alluding to his turban.
“I seriously feel depressed, I feel very bad about what happened. I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Khehra, a 29-year-old business analyst, told Hindustan Times
“Physically, I’m trying to recover, but mentally I’m thinking of the event more and more. I’m a bit worried about the safety of elder men and young children of our community.”
The episode was condemned by Trudeau while he was speaking to reporters in Washington, where he was attending the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.
Trudeau was quoted as saying that such “hateful acts” had “no place in Canada”. He said: “We stand clearly against the kind of discrimination and intolerance that represents.”
Khehra said he was “thankful to the Prime Minister that he spoke about this issue”.
Khehra’s parents and wife, whom he married just this January, are in India and he did not mention the attack to them till it went public on Friday. He also allowed a blackened eye to heal before he had a Skype conversation with them.
“They were initially in a state of shock,” he said, but after Trudeau’s statement, “they have relaxed a bit”.
While two men were arrested by local police, one was later released, according to media reports. Police continue to investigate the assault.
Khehra said he had been verbally abused, mostly in French, as the attackers pointed to his turban. He told CTV News: “It was all because of my race, my colour and the headgear I was wearing.”
The incident was captured in a cellphone video that shows the men rushing Khehra as he tried to ignore them.