Chilliwack Indian restaurants targeted with hateful emails
The RCMP are investigating some disturbing emails sent to the operators of two Indian restaurants in Chilliwack, B.C. last week. Sam Atti, who runs the Shandhar Hut Indian Cuisine, says on Feb. 28 he received an email that said, "Chilliwack is not a place for you."
The sender wrote that Chillliwack doesn't "need the folk from India and Surrey to pollute this city," and "there is a deep longing for you to never appear there again."
Atti's son Paul says during his 28 years growing up in Chilliwack, he has never experienced such overt racism.
The same email was also sent to the only other Indian restaurant in the city, the Bay Leaf Restaurant, according to owner Sumit Guladi.
Guladi says his house was also targeted twice by vandals in recent months.
The RCMP are taking the emails seriously and are investigating the emails as a possible hate crime, according to Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth.
"Hate crime is something that we're looking more into. Intimidation is certainly a concern for us. There are certain sections of the Criminal Code that this could potentially fall under."
In the meantime the community has rallied around the two restaurant owners and both families say they've received dozens of calls of support since speaking publicly about the emails.
“We Don’t Need Folk From India And Surrey To Pollute Chilliwack,”
Indo-Canadian Restaurateur Disturbed By Hateful, Racist Email
“We are sickened by this and we can’t even stand to look at you. Let us live in peace without having to see your kind here,” says a Chilliwack racist.
CHILLIWACK – Lucky Gulati has owned the Bay Leaf Indian restaurant in Chilliwack for 3 years but has never felt like he wasn’t wanted in the Fraser Valley city until this week.
On Thursday, February 28th, Gulati received an extremely hateful email from a citizen of Chilliwack that has left him disturbed. The man who sent the email can only be identified as “goldenboynix” from his email ID but his real name remains a mystery.
The email reads: “On behalf of the citizens of Chilliwack, we do not want your people here. Your business [will] never succeed here…tell your people this is not a good place for them…there are good people here, good families and we don’t need the folk from India and Surrey to pollute this city.”
The long email ends with: “We are trying to get away from you people. Let us be. We understand our government is crap and that’s the reason you come from a 3rd world country with nothing and live here with everything. Paid for by us Canadians out of our tax dollars to support your extended family that never intended to contribute to this country in the first place. We are sickened by this and we can’t even stand to look at you. Let us live in peace without having to see your kind here.”
The Gulati family, residents of Chilliwack, received an email early Thursday morning but they have been targeted over the last few weeks by a racist individual or individuals.
Over the last few weeks, the Gulati home has been egged, and one morning, animal bones were left at their front door – all incidents Lucky Gulati said he didn’t take seriously, assuming neighbourhood kids were messing around.
It was only a few days later that they became the victims of a hate crime through their family business. Now the Gulatis fear that the person who has been egging their family home and has sent this hateful email is the same person. Also mysteriously – there is a review on the restaurant’s website that has some of the same racist and hateful language found in the email from “goldenboynix” but with an actual name.
According to the information Chilliwack RCMP has provided Gulati – the sender of the hateful email has allegedly sent the RCMP an email apologizing for his hateful words, citing mental health issues as the reason for his racist rant. No formal apology has been made to restaurant owner Lucky Gulati or his family.
The police has told Gulati that the file is open but has not given him more information on the suspect – who he is or whether he is a neighbour, which makes Gulati fearful of his family’s safety.
Gulati, who think there are more than one suspects who are terrorising him, told the LINK he wants immediate action to have this miscreant suspect charged with hate crime.
“I’m going to go to the mayor, to the Civil Liberties Association and to the local media to highlight this abuse,” Gulati told the LINK. “I’m a successful businessman in this community and have helped create jobs and this is not the way I should be treated.”
“There should be no tolerance for hate crimes, and hate should never be accepted,” says Ken Herar, Link columnist who also writes for Fraser Valley newspapers and is the founder of Cycling for Diversity. “That being said, if the sender of this hateful email is genuinely apologizing to the Gulati family, he or she should be forgiven and both parties should move on.”
The email went viral on Facebook, and many South Asian youth had strong opinions about the content.
“Whoever claims that Chilliwack and Abbotsford is ‘their’ land, they clearly need to take a Canadian history class over again. This is no one’s land, except for the Aboriginal community,” posted Anjneet Panesar. “You are just as much of an immigrant as an East Indian. Just because you’ve been here for a few years longer than some East Indians, doesn’t mean this is your land. Why did your ancestors come here? Do you know what Europe looked like after WWI and WWII, it was a disaster. You can say it was worse than a third world country.”
Anjneet’s parting words to the sender of the email are, “If you ever decide to educate yourself, please take an international development class. You’ll learn that the developed countries now, developed at the cost of third world countries. By living off of another countries riches doesn’t make you superior or rich. And if you don’t realize this than I’m sorry to say, but you’re just a ungrateful coward.
“Although we’re starting to make progress in terms of racial equality in our city, this incident is a reminder that ignorance and hate still exist,” says Shima Ghailan, communications officer at PICS Society, “it’s important that we recognize this isn’t an isolated incident, but it was one that was reported. Hate crimes more often are a product of ignorance and a lack of understanding – We must start building bridges between communities so not only are we able to coexist in a safe space, but we’re able to benefit and gain from each other’s resources and experiences.”
Chilliwack restaurant owner targeted by racist email claiming people from India and Surrey ‘pollute’ this city
Police in Chilliwack are investigating after the owner of an Indian restaurant was sent an email filled with racial hatred suggesting his “people” should clear out because Chilliwack doesn’t “need folk from India and Surrey to pollute this city.”
The restaurant owner said his home was recently egged, and someone tossed chicken bones on his doorstep several months ago, but at first he wrote those incidents off as teenage pranks. After receiving a chilling message to his private email on Thursday, he says he reported the “chain” of incidents to the RCMP. The owner said he is afraid to have his name published because he fears that could incite more racial targeting of himself and his restaurant, which he has invested $300,000 in.
“We have good customers but some people seem like they are in the 1950s still,” the owner said Saturday. “The racists don’t want me here in Chilliwack. The Supreme Court says racism and hate is a crime, and I think this [message] is harassment. My family is scared.”
The anonymous message writer says he is “well-connected” in Chilliwack, and he assures the owner that no matter how much he invests his restaurant will fail, because South Asians are not welcome in Chilliwack. The hateful email, obtained by The Province, says: “Your people come from a third-world India living in mud houses and drinking cow piss and bathing in milk.”
“I speak on behalf of citizens of Chilliwack,” the writer says. “Your business is never going to succeed. Tell your people this is not a good place for them.”
“There are good people here, good families and we don’t need the folk from India and Surrey to pollute this city,” the writer concludes.
Mehtab Mann, a 21-year-old woman who lives in Chilliwack and is a friend of the owner, said she strongly believes the message writer has committed a hate crime, and should be charged.
“What upsets me most is how there are still people out there in this day in age who are committing such hate crimes,” Mann said. “Canada is known for its multiculturalism, and if you can’t accept that, then maybe this isn’t the place for you.”
Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth said a Chilliwack RCMP investigator is working on the file after taking a statement from the owner. The owner told The Province he understands that the investigator will recommend turning the case over to the RCMP’s hate crime unit.
“I think it’s too early in the investigation to determine if there will be charges as we are still attempting to determine the identity of the author,” Hollingsworth told The Province. “This person’s comments are very disturbing to all of us.”
Under The Criminal Code of Canada if a judge finds a crime, such as an assault, intimidation, harassment or uttering threats, was motivated by hatred against a person or group because of who they are, tougher sentences can be applied.
Chilliwack, with a population of 92,300 has a much higher majority of white, English mother-tongue speakers than B.C.’s average, according to the 2011 census.
The hateful email, in its language, tone and twisted logic, seems to mirror two extremely negative online reviews against Chilliwack’s only two Indian restaurants. Both reviews were submitted to TripAdvisor.com on Dec. 29, 2012.
While slamming the food and “smell” in both restaurants, the anonymous reviewer says he thinks both restaurants will go out of business in Chilliwack, and both would do better in Surrey.