Canadian MPs raise alarm about 'escalating violence' among Punjabis in Brampton
By Barfi Culture Team
24th June 2018

Gang violence is already taking a toll on Punjabi Canadians on the west coast, now those in the east are worried too.

Last week, MPs from Brampton signed a joint statement recognising the "escalating violence" in the area, worried that community tensions could spiral out of control.

Brampton is a suburb of Toronto and heavily populated with Punjabi-Sikh families. Its 5 MPs are Ruby Sahota, Kamal Khera, Sonia Sidhu, Raj Grewal and Ramesh Sangha.

The MPs say have been getting calls from worried constituents and have held emergency meetings with the police and the local community. They have called for increased patrols and police presence in some areas as a start.

The letter stated: "Recently, several incidents of violence involving youth in Brampton have been reported, particularly in the areas of Shoppers World Plaza and Sheridan College."

"Videos of the incidents are widely being circulated on social media and our offices have received several calls and emails regarding escalating violence and the safety in our community."

The statement acknowledged the perception that the violence was being fuelled by international students, and added: "We would also like to urge the community to remember that a majority of international students come to Canada to pursue their education and contribute to Canada. They study hard, word hard and are law abiding members of our community."

The issue has ignited fierce debate in the local Punjabi community.

"Need to address this immediately! This kind of behaviour and violence is unacceptable!" wrote Kuldeep Dhanjal on Ruby Sahota MP's Facebook Page. She added: "Brampton is a beautiful city where we all live in harmony and look out for each other. This nonsense has given our city a bad reputation."

Videos of some of the violence have been widely shared on social media.

The MPs have also tweeted repeatedly on the issue registering their concern.

Even the World Sikh Organization felt it had to weigh in

A few weeks ago over a thousand Canadians in the city of Surrey rallied against gang violence too. Police have not said these incidents are directly linked.

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