Sender of racist message to Chilliwack Indian restaurant owner emails apology

PAUL J. HENDERSON
CHILLIWACK TIMES

Bay Leaf Restaurant owner Sumit Gulati

Bay Leaf Restaurant owner Sumit Gulati is having a hard time believing the sincerity of the emailed apologies. Paul J. Henderson/Postmedia News

The owner of an Indian
restaurant
in Chilliwack who received a racist email last weekreceived messages of apology from the same address Monday morning.

Bay Leaf Restaurant owner Sumit Gulati told the RCMP about the Feb. 28 email in which an anonymous writer said the business, which has been open for more than two years, will fail.

“I promise you, if your restaurant stays in Chilliwack, it will never succeed,” the writer using a Hushmail. com address said. “Tell your people this is not a good place for them . . . . Your people come from a third-world India living in mud houses and drinking cow piss and bathing in milk.”

The writer also said he is “well connected” in the city. He ended the message with: “Let us live in peace without having to see your kind here.”

An identical email was also sent to the owners of Chilliwack’s only other Indian restaurant, Shandhar Hut.

The story was picked up by a number of media outlets as far away as India, where the Hindustan Times posted a story on its website Sunday.

Early Monday morning, Gulati received three more email messages in which the anonymous writer said he or she was sorry.

“I would like to apologize for the idiotic and hateful e-mail I sent recently,” the message received at 12:03 a.m. Monday began. “Although I will not reveal my identity, what I will admit is I am a restaurant owner and trying to eliminate competition. I was having a very bad day, business is slow and have some mental health issues I need to resolve.”

But Gulati doesn’t buy it.

“He’s just trying to clear his name because of everything in the media,” he told the Times at the Bay Leaf on Monday.

After reporting the email to the RCMP on Feb. 28, the anonymous emailer sent a message to police that same day also saying he was “having a bad day and mental health issues.”

He also asked what law he had violated.

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth of the Chilliwack RCMP said an investigator is on the file and has been in contact with the hate crimes unit.

“We are still trying to determine if there is sufficient evidence to support any charges,” she said. “We are not going to be ruling anything out. Certainly this is not something we are going to dismiss.”

Gulati said about 16 days ago someone threw eggs at his Sardis home and a few months ago someone dumped chicken bones on his doorstep.

Gulati immigrated from India to Canada three-and-a-half years ago because of the standard of living and because the country is a land of immigrants. He said that while the incident upset him and scared his family, he has been buoyed by the hundreds of emails and phone calls of support he has received.

“The people do not accept this,” he said.

While talking with the Times, local realtor and founder of Cash Mob Chilliwack Scott McVetty came in to the restaurant to talk to Gulati. Cash Mob events involve local shoppers descending on a retail location to spend money and support local businesses.

McVetty asked Gulati if he could handle a Cash Mob influx this Friday. The restaurant owner said he welcomes the group.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said on Facebook that a Cash Mob was a good idea.

“Love will always win over hate and hungry diners may relieve some of the sting!” she wrote.

To read more, visit The Chilliwack Times.

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