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Sikh international student overwhelmed by outpouring of support after assault in Kelowna. B.C.


An international student from India who is recovering after being beaten at a bus stop in Kelowna, B.C., in an incident that is being probed as a potential hate crime says he has been overwhelmed by an outpouring of support.

Gagandeep Singh, who is Sikh, was allegedly swarmed by a group of people who tore off his turban and dragged him across the sidewalk by his hair last Friday night.

A GoFundMe that was set up over the weekend to help the young man cover his living expenses and medical costs has since raised over $22,000. In a message, Singh said the contributions and kind messages from strangers have reminded him why he chose to come to the country to study.

"The last few days have been very difficult for me. I am at home resting and recovering from the attack. I really appreciate the support across Canada from everyone," he wrote in an update on the fundraising page which has since stopped accepting contributions.

"Thank you for your donations over the last two days, they are above and beyond what I ever imagined."

The Kelowna RCMP are investigating the alleged assault, saying a group of between 12 and 15 people were involved and that the victim was followed off the bus and attacked from behind. On Tuesday, Mounties said they have contacted the B.C. Hate Crimes Team.

"The Kelowna RCMP have identified a suspect group, however no arrests have been made. While the motivation for the assault, and the details surrounding it, are still being investigated by police, the B.C. Hate Crimes Team has been consulted to ensure that any hate elements, if any, are properly identified and investigate," a statement from Mounties said. 

Harkaran Singh, who is Gagandeep's roommate, told CTV News that his friend called him from the bis on the night of the assault, saying that people were harassing him on the bus. Soon after, Gagandeep called his roommate back.

"He said he's surrounded by multiple people. And that time they start attacking on him. He was disconnected for four or five minutes, and at that time, I called RCMP," Harkaran told CTV News.

After that, Harkaran hurried to the bus stop at Highway 97 and McCurdy Road where he found Gagandeep unconscious and missing his turban. The incident has left the community, particularly Gagandeep's friends and fellow international students, shaken and shocked.

"We need justice for Gagan," he said.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Shannon Paterson and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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