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Canada’s Sikh defense minister faces racial abuse from a soldier


Toronto: Canada’s newly appointed Sikh Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan has become the target of racist attacks by someone in his own armed forces.

Reports said that a non-commissioned officer from the Canadian Forces Base at Valcartier near Quebec City targeted Sajjan in a racist comment on social media on November 5, just a day after Sajjan was sworn in as defense minister. The comment was later removed.

The Globe quoted an armed forces spokesperson as saying that bullies have no place in the army.

“Racist attitudes are not compatible with military ethos and with effective military service. Any conduct that reflects such attitudes will not be tolerated.

“The institution is entirely committed to the principle of equality of all people and the dignity and worth of every human being”, it said, and noted that “bullies have no place in the organization”.

The Toronto Star reported that the military’s Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West sent an email to his troops on November 5, saying: “We have had an incident in which a high-ranking member of the military posted negative comments on a Facebook page about our minister.

“It’s totally unacceptable. We already deal with conduct problems on a daily basis in our ranks and it’s our duty, and that of our leaders, to put an end to it immediately. I was made aware of this incident and to say that I am mad is not the word.”

As per military rules, the offending officer can be relieved from the armed forces, suspended, put on probationary period or sent for counseling.



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I was a Victim of Racial Abuse in India: Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla

Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla , Source:

New Delhi, April 25, 2017:  Lashing out racial abuse faced by northeastern people in major Indian cities, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla says he himself was a victim of such slurs in various corners of the country.

“Racial abuse is the worst thing in this country. I have faced it myself a lot of times. These are foolish people who do not know their own country,” the 74-year-old Chief Minister told IANS in an interview.

“In a reception some 20-25 years ago, one gentleman said to me ‘You don’t look like an Indian’ to which I replied?: ‘Tell me in one sentence what does an Indian look like?’ “

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The five-time Chief Minister said it is not only the common people but politicians at the national level — cutting across party lines — who do not have a basic idea of India.

“Even the national leadership, be it the BJP or the Congress or any other political party, if you do not know your own country, how can you be a leader?”

“Many of these national leaders do not know about their own country, which is very, very foolish. It speaks about the lack of education and patriotism. It also speaks about their feeling of having a superior mentality,” he added.

The Congress veteran further said such abuses and step-motherly treatment towards the people of a particular region gives birth to regionalism and secessionism.

“They don’t even know that India is populated by at least three major races of the world. Recently someone from Madhya Pradesh said the Dravidians (South Indian) people are very black, they don’t realise that Northern India is populated by Aryans and in the North East it is the Mongoloid people. Besides, there are many aboriginal tribes in our country.”

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“That is why in the northeast, this regionalism is very high. (Feelings of) Secessionism (sic) is very high because we are not accepted outside the northeast. This is how so-called Indian people treat us,” he added.

Despite various efforts of the central government, including steps like setting up of North East Cells, racial attacks on people from the region, especially students and women, just won’t die down.

In 2014, Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, died in Delhi in a racial brawl, forcing the government to set up the M.P. Bezbaruah-led committee to gather information on issues raised by people from northeast India who are living elsewhere in India, especially in the metros.

Recently, a student from Arunachal Pradesh in Bengaluru, Higio Gungtey, faced a racial attack by his landlord. The landlord assaulted him for over 90 minutes and made racial remarks.  (IANS)

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Indian Hate Crime Survivor Alok Madasani reminisces the horrific killing of his best friend

Madasani has been struggling to get over the horrific incident that night at the Austins Bar and Grill in Kanas City where Adam Purinton opened fire on them after throwing racial slurs "terrorist" and "get out of my country".

indian diaspora
A memorial for a hate crime victim; (representational Image) Source: Wikimedia

April 09, 2017: Alok Madasani, an Indian engineer who was a severely wounded in a “hate crime” episode in Kanas City in which his colleague Shrinivas Kuchibhotia was murdered by white American.

Both worked for Global Positioning System (GPS) maker Garmin in Olathe in Kansas state.

“I still don’t want to believe what’s happening. Words can’t describe how much I am missing Srinivas. It is hard to overcome losing your best friend in front of your eyes and just the fact that it could have been both of us,” Madasani told about his friend Kuchibhotla to PTI.

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Madasani has been struggling to get over the horrific incident that night at the Austins Bar and Grill in Kanas City where Adam Purinton opened fire on them after throwing racial slurs “terrorist” and “get out of my country”.

“Physically I am doing much better, due to the friends and colleagues at Garmin, but a long way to go from a mental strength standpoint, I still get flashes of what happened that night and feel sad that the person who took the bullet for me, Srinu, is no more”.

“His office space at Garmin was right next to my office and it is hard not to think about him, our memories together for last nine years will stay that way forever. I am focusing more on work and spend more time with my family, but it is not the same,” he said.

“I am just grateful to be alive,” he said.

“Coming back to work has been a blessing as I am surrounded by wonderful people here at Garmin and I could not have asked for more,” he further added.

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Madasani stated he was trying to be strong for the sake of his family and wife who is pregnant with their first baby.

“What gives me strength every day is to see the community standing together, making me believe that one act will not divide us,” Madasani answered.

“It was the malice intent of one person that took away a great human being but at the same time I am surrounded by amazing individuals who strengthen my belief in this community and what it stands for,” he said.

Madasani has received personal letters from all across the world telling him to stay strong. The kanas government has declared March 16 as “Indian-American Day” in remembrance of Srinivas and has received an amazing response.

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“We all wish the shooting never happened but I really want and request all to look at the positive side of how the community got together during these difficult times and once again proved that whatever form hatred takes, love will overcome it,” he appended.

Madasani has requested everyone to come forward be a part of the wonderful community.

“Spread love and kindness, take the time to share the culture, learn other cultures at the same time and most importantly let’s coexist,” Madasani said.

“If there is one thing that this situation has taught me, it is to be positive. It is easy to be positive when everything is going your way but I want to stay positive now and set an example for myself and anyone who is looking towards me for inspiration.

“If anything, I want people to remember Srinivas as a person who till his last breath helped people, rather than a victim of a senseless crime. I am here because of him,” Madasani said.

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Local and federal government authorities are investigating the assault as a conceivable hate crime. Purinton was accused of planned first-degree murder and two checks of attempted deliberate first-degree homicide.The judge decreed Purinton back to court on May 9 for a second appearance. He is being held on a USD 2 million bond.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94


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Another Racial Hate Crime incident in US, Indian man assaulted

The racial discrimination is spurring in the states after Donald Trump's declaration of a ban on migrants. There have been a series of hate crime hitherto in the United States.

A poster depicting pre-eminent racial discrimination in US, Wikimedia

Washington, March 19, 2017: An American man has been charged with assaulting an Indian-origin man and tossing racial rebukes, erroneously conceiving him for a Muslim man. Jeffery Allen Burgess, a 54-year-old man living in Pennyslavia has been accused of disparaging and harming Ankur Mehta on November 22 because of his deemed race, color, and nationality.

Burgess was arraigned on a hate crime charge by the federal grand jury in connection with the alleged assault at a Red Robin restaurant in South Hills Village as reported by the Pittsburg Tribune. The arraignment was announced by the acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and acting US Attorney Soo C Song for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced the indictment.

In the interim of the incident, police reported that Burgess was sitting next to Mehta inside the Red Robin restaurant when he began insulting him and then repeatedly elbowed him in the head. He further rebuked Ankur Mehta saying, “I don’t want you sitting next to me…You people.”The onlookers told the Bethel Park Police that Burgess was constantly him anti-Muslim slurs.

Mehta was treated at the St. Clair Hospital for a laceration to the upper lip and a loose tooth after Burgess struck Mehta 4-5 times repeatedly.

Besides the racial slurs, Burgess told Mehta that “things are different now” said police which authorities suppose was an excerpt from Donald Trump election speeches.

The accused is convicted with 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or both. Additionally, ethnic intimidation, public drunkenness, and simple assault have been also charged to him stemming from the same incident.The racial discrimination is spurring in the states after Donald Trump’s declaration of a ban on migrants.

The racial discrimination is spurring in the states after Donald Trump’s declaration of a ban on migrants. There have been a series of hate crime incidents hitherto in the United States. On February 22, Indian nationals Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot at a bar in Olathe, Kansas, by a man shouting “get out of my country”. Another incident where a Sikh American was shot and injured on March 3 in Kent, Washington, by a gunman who fiercely told him to “go back to your own country.

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94