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Indo-Canadians get ‘threat calls’ for supporting India’s stance

February 09, 2021 05:09 AM


Indo-Canadians get ‘threat calls’ for supporting India’s stance

Nihang Sikhs at the Singhu border on Monday. SANJEEV VERMA/HT
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Toronto : From the Greater Toronto Area to Metro Vancouver and Calgary and across Canada, members of the Indo-Canadian community are being targeted with intimidating calls including threats of sexual violence against family members. Their crime? Questioning the rationale behind the ongoing farmers’ protests in India and opposing the Khalistani involvement in the movement.

Among the victims are two persons living in Brampton, a suburb of Toronto. Mohan, who did not want his full name to be revealed because of fears of personal security, said he received nearly 70 threatening calls over the period of one week, after he commented on a Facebook post. “These are abusive, threatening, full of religious hate. They include threats to my family, they say,’We know your address’. They are as filthy as it can get.”

Another person who commented on that social media thread was Jay, who also didn’t want his full name or personal details disclosed. He shared a recording of one among several calls he had received, during the course of which, the unidentified caller described himself as a “warrior” and threatened to rape Jay’s wife and daughters. Jay filed a complaint with local law enforcement, while Mohan is still waiting for his complaint to be registered. “They abused me, said, ‘We have seen your house.’ This cannot be tolerated. I told the police to take action and show something,” Jay told the Hindustan Times.

A spokesperson for Peel Police, which is responsible for the region Jay and Mohan reside in, confirmed the complaints have been filed and they will investigate the matter.

Fear is so palpable that not a single person wanted their full names or other details to be revealed. One of those impacted said part of the blame for the rising Hinduphobia lay with some local Punjabi-language media for featuring incendiary rhetoric. The majority of these threats commenced after events in New Delhi on Republic Day, when a tractor rally led to violence in the capital.

This phenomenon is not limited to the GTA alone. Vinay, a resident of Calgary, faced much worse. He received nearly a 100 calls a day over the past 10 days. Not only that, miscreants arrived at his residence early one morning and threw eggs and tomatoes at it, and another person drove up to the home, rang the bell and asked where Vinay was. A hate crime complaint has also been filed in this regard with police.

These are not isolated instances but part of a larger pattern. The Hindustan Times has learnt of similar reports from Edmonton (also in Alberta), and Vancouver (in British Columbia). A resident of Metro Vancouver, who did not want to be named, said, “Those who support India are being targeted.” Mona, who is active within the Indo-Canadian community said that a 90-year-old astrologer was verbally attacked for his views and as he was in India at the time.

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