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

GANGS-BC-SURREY-AUSTRALIA

Australian co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak sentenced to 3 years in prison

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI A co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak was on Friday sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a…
Continue Reading »

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

GANGS-BC-SURREY-AUSTRALIA

Australian co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak sentenced to 3 years in prison

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI A co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak was on Friday sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a…
Continue Reading »

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avoiding relapse, inviting happiness over the Holiday Season

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The holiday season can be an especially challenging time for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviours. Holiday parties and celebrations with…
Continue Reading »

Vagina Monologues

Sex workers from India’s largest red light area seek American feminist Eve Ensler’s help

IANS Kolkata – American activist and playwright Eve Ensler Friday met sex workers in Kolkata’s Sonagachi, one of Asia’s largest red light areas, who sought…
Continue Reading »

Miss World

Bikini round removed from Miss World pageant

IANS London – The Miss World contest, which has been an annual feature since 1951, will no longer feature a swimsuit round in their competition,…
Continue Reading »

sexi desi babes

Gallery: Wait for India’s Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over

VANCOUVER DESI The Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over. An Indian lifestyle channel will air the grand finale of the reality…
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Pakistani student who skipped school on the day of Taliban rampage ‘isn’t talking to anyone’

VANCOUVER DESI A 15-year-old student of Pakistan’s Army Public School  – which was bombed by the Taliban this week, killing 141 people, of which 132…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: Stars come together for another big fat Bollywood wedding

VANCOUVER DESI After Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding with businessman Aayush Sharma last month, Bollywood stars gathered for another high-profile Bollywood wedding that turned…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Film Review: Aamir Khan’s PK unconventionally outstanding

TROY REBEIRO IANS Film: “PK”; Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Parikshat Shahni; Director: Rajkumar Hirani; Rating: *** 1/2…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood jodis-ex lovers

Bollywood’s ex-flames Shahid Kapoor, Kareena to work together in ‘Udta Punjab’?

IANS Mumbai – Actor Shahid Kapoor, who once dated actress Kareena Kapoor, has said that he has never refused to work with the latter and…
Continue Reading »