Man who urinated on Komagata Maru memorial offers apology; suffers serious mental disorder says police

Published: January 16, 2014

ALMAS MEHERALLY
VANCOUVER DESI

Vancouver Coal Harbour

Man who urinated on Komagata Maru memorial in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour suffers mental disorder says police. Steve Bosch/PNG

The man who urinated on the Komagata Maru memorial last month is mentally ill and has apologized for his act, Vancouver police said Thursday.

The Vancouver police located the suspect on Wednesday and he agreed to apologize for his actions, Chief Constable Jim Chu said in a statement. The suspect’s signed apology read: I am sorry for what I did that day at the monument. I didn’t want to hurt anyone.

Police believe that the suspect is an illicit drug user, suffers a serious mental disorder and ‘ needs the health system, not the justice system’, Chu said.

“The Vancouver Police have always treated this abhorrent act on the Komagata Maru monument as a serious matter. We know the importance of this monument to the community. I was personally honoured to speak at its unveiling,” Chu said.

The Komagata Maru memorial is dedicated to the 376 Indian passengers aboard a Japanese ship of the same name, who were turned away from Canada  in May 1914 under its discriminatory laws. The ship was anchored in Vancouver for over two months and forced out of Vancouver and back to India on July 23, 1914.

The memorial was created by the Vancouver Park Board in partnership with the Khalsa Diwan Society to embrace multiculturalism and remind people about the devastating impact of racial intolerance.

When the matter of urinating on the memorial was reported to the police,  a hate crime investigator was assigned to the case, Chu said.

Police identified the suspect and interviewed the witness in the case with the help of the Khalsa Diwan Society president.

“Based on the interview results, we confirmed that our only option in the justice system was a bylaw ticket for urinating in public,” Chu said.

Chu said it was not in anyone’s interest to serve this suspect a bylaw ticket and when explained, several South Asian community leaders supported this decision.

The police had earlier this week said that while urinating in a public place can be a criminal offence in Canada under certain circumstances, that wasn’t the case here. They also decided not to press charges against the suspect.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he supports the department’s decision. “The desecration and vandalism of the Komagata Maru monument was a disgusting and disgraceful act, but clearly performed by someone who had no idea what he was doing,” Robertson said.

Sohan Deol, president of the Khalsa Diwan Society, said the local Sikh community was initially very upset about the incident. But they accept the man’s apology and support police.

“Whatever he did, he apologized for,” Deol said. “I think the community … we should accept that (because of) the condition of that person.”

Chu said the man, who lives in Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside, will be referred to an outreach team that can help him with his mental illness.

ameherally@vancouverdesi.com

With files from The Canadian Press

Related Stories:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,




Featured

football-100year journey

B.C.’s South Asian pioneer Ranjit Mattu mentored many football stars

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Even as a child, Ranjit Mattu knew he had game. From his first play on the field of Mount Pleasant Elementary,…
Continue Reading »

pioneers

Dharm Singh Gill changed the way Sikhs were regarded for wearing turbans at work

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Little did Dharm Singh Gill realize that an act of heroism would change the way Sikhs were regarded for wearing their…
Continue Reading »

Jacqui Feldman shows off a recovering Sugar, her 13-year-old poodle that Terra Nova vet Dr. Javaid Chaudhry, rear, helped save after operating to remove a tumour. Feldman, who is battling cancer herself, fell on hard times and couldn’t afford to pay the $3,000-plus for Sugar’s procedure.  Alan Campbell/Richmond News

Richmond veterinarian steps up to save cancer sufferer’s dying dog

ALAN CAMPBELL RICHMOND NEWS Richmond’s Jacqui Feldman, who’s suffering from terminal cancer, is crediting a local veterinarian with saving her life. It was a few weeks ago…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Japan-Canada trade talks stalled with no meetings in sight

By Mike Blanchfield THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Trade talks have stalled between Canada and Japan — one of the Harper government’s priority countries for…
Continue Reading »

football-100year journey

B.C.’s South Asian pioneer Ranjit Mattu mentored many football stars

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Even as a child, Ranjit Mattu knew he had game. From his first play on the field of Mount Pleasant Elementary,…
Continue Reading »

pioneers

Dharm Singh Gill changed the way Sikhs were regarded for wearing turbans at work

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Little did Dharm Singh Gill realize that an act of heroism would change the way Sikhs were regarded for wearing their…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

weight-loss

Do we need to exercise more or eat less?

JILL BARKER MONTREAL GAZETTE A battle is waging in the scientific journals between several prominent health and fitness experts. In one corner are physicians Aseem Malhotra,…
Continue Reading »

exam scores

Identical twins’ mark sheets almost as identical and the story of a courageous young achiever

HINDUSTAN TIMES AND VANCOUVER DESI They are identical twins and, interestingly, even their mark sheets look almost the same. Ranchi twins Aporupa and Anorupa Chattopadhyay …
Continue Reading »

India-pharma-under scanner

U.S. lawsuit puts generic drug imports from India under scanner

IANS Washington – A U.S. class action lawsuit accusing India’s Ranbaxy of large-scale deception on its generic drug applications puts a question mark on drug…
Continue Reading »

100 year journey

Apart from the overwhelming cold, Sucha Singh Bagri has fond memories of his first few days in B.C.

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Sucha Singh Bagri arrived in Canada with his father Harnam Singh Bagri on Feb 2, 1935, on the Empress of Russia,…
Continue Reading »

swimsuits

Who wants to be a Princess? Beauty pageant contestants undergo rigorous training

VANCOUVER DESI Divas aspiring to become Indian Princesses are undergoing rigorous training before the grand finale of the beauty pageant in Mumbai. Indian princess pageant 2015 ◄…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Items of clothing are displayed in room 331 of the Martinez Hotel, where Parisian fashion house Elie Saab provides sartorial services to celebrities attending the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 21, 2015. During the Cannes Film Festival, room 331 is radically transformed into a red carpet emergency room - where celebrities like Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman can rush to if they pop out of a dress, or a zipper breaks. Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

‘Nip slips’ and broken zippers: Red carpet Emergency Room for Cannes wardrobe malfunctions always full of drama

THOMAS ADAMSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNES, France – For most of the year, room 331 of the Martinez Hotel is just your run-of-the mill luxury…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai doesn’t leave her daughter alone even for a night

HINDUSTAN TIMES Apart from walking the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is also screening footage from her upcoming film, Jazbaa. The first…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Photos: Aishwarya Rai an absolute stunner at Cannes 2015 (updated)

VANCOUVER DESI Former beauty queen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been a Cannes regular for over a decade now. But this year marks her comeback to the…
Continue Reading »