Indo-Canadian teenager killed in inter-race brawl

An Indo-Canadian teenager was killed in a clash between two groups following an apparent inter-race brawl in Woodbridge.
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Published on Oct 20, 2005 03:54 PM IST
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None | By Indo-Asian News Service, Toronto

An Indo-Canadian teenager was killed in a clash between two groups following an apparent inter-race brawl in Woodbridge, an Italian-dominated suburb of this Canadian city.

Pritpaul  Singh Dhanoa, 17, received severe head injuries when two teenage groups clashed on Oct 14 night in a pre-planned fight in Highway 7 and Pine Valley area, according to the South Asian Observer newspaper here.

Dhanoa, a Grade 12 student at Woodbridge College High School was pronounced dead early Saturday at St. Michael's Hospital. He had received serious head injuries. The clash was reported to be a culmination of a simmering dispute that began a few months ago and was trigged by a racial slur.

The police rejected the claim that the Indo Canadian youth was beaten to death. Some earlier reports suggested that Dhanoa was repeatedly kicked in the head and thrashed with sticks by assailants.

The police claim Dhanoa fell from a moving car and struck his head on a road curb in Vaughan city.

York police claimed that Dhanoa was among a group of South Asian youths who went to the area near Giovanni Caboto Park, a popular hangout for teenagers after dark, armed themselves with sticks, bats and pipes, pulled on ski masks and tried to attack a group of teenagers of Italian origin.

According to police, when the second group fled to avoid a clash, the first group jumped into cars and chased the former along Chancellor drive in Highway 7 area.

It was there that Dhanoa fell from a car and struck his head, they said. Police said Dhanoa was put in a car and driven to a nearby mall where a call for an ambulance was made.

However, parents and relatives of the deceased at Tryton street declined to comment on the matter.

The police also denied that the incident was racially motivated. Police say that although the two groups were split along ethnic lines, there was nothing to indicate that the clash was ethnically or racially motivated.

But locals say the incident was the result of a simmering feud between two groups sparked by a racial slur this summer.

A girl who was there reportedly said an alarm was accidentally triggered by one group and another group, apparently drunk, rudely told them to turn it off. Words were exchanged and some girls who were there responded with a racial epithet. Tempers flared and clashes, both minor and serious, continued during the summer, the teen said. Police had stepped up patrols and ticketed teens for trespassing on mall property.

Dhanoa, the only son of his parents, had been a brilliant student and an avid sportsman. According to his family and friends, Dhanoa was liked by everyone. He had wanted to study business at the University of Western Ontario. His untimely death has come as a crippling blow to the family.

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