Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Nanaimo RCMP are advising the South Asian community to be aware of a telephone lotto scam that surfaced this past weekend in Nanaimo.

On Saturday July 21st at approximately 10:00 am,  a female received a phone call from a  male who introduced himself speaking only Punjabi and Hindi. The caller told  the recipient they had won $50,000 in a lotto that was recently advertised on Channel 531 on the Shaw Network. This channel is watched primarily by people whose first language is either Punjabi or Hindi, and is very popular in the East Indian community on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

The caller stated that before the female could receive her winnings, she was required to pay an administrative fee of $625.00.  She was then advised to go to the TD Bank within the next thirty minutes and withdraw the money.  “In this particular case, the person targeted knew it was a scam. After telling the individual  that she would not be going to the bank, the caller hung up,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

The female then called Shaw TV to report the incident.  The Nanaimo RCMP have not received any complaints of this nature to date, but are aware of this scam circulating throughout the Lower Mainland.

If you receive a call similar to this, where you are required to pay money up front, it is bogus.  The best advice is to simply hang up then share your experience with friends and family.  It is also essential that any persons who are recent to Canada or speak only Punjabi or Hindi, are made aware of this scam so they do not fall prey.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Alzheimer's Society of BC is organising "Walk for Memories" event to bring together people who want to help thousands of British Columbians touched by dementia. This disease affects many senior citizens in the South Asian community. Therefore, BC Sikh Youth has formed a team called Sikh Community of BC to participate in this good cause.
Make this event a success by joining or supporting the team. To register or sponsor go to
The date is January 27th. Check-in is at 12pm and the walk begins at 1pm. The location is the Promenade in White Rock.For further information they can contact Kulpreet Singh at 778-319-1699.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Ambala (Haryana) - The killing of three members of a family by a close relative in Oak Forest area of Chicago in the US is being mourned by a family in this Haryana town. Rajesh Kumar Arora, 30, his wife Monika Rani, 22, and their son Vansh, 3, died after Monika's father Subhash Chander, 57, set their apartment on fire Dec 31. Monika was five months pregnant. "We were informed by Chicago police that the bodies were all charred beyond recognition. They have asked us to send identification marks so that their bodies or ashes can be sent back to India," sobbing Om Prakash, the father of Rajesh, said.
Chander was arrested by the police and charged with first-degree murder. He told police investigators that he was upset that his daughter had married a man from a lower caste against his wishes. But Rajesh Kumar's family in Ambala disagrees with Chander's claim that he carried out the gruesome act because of the caste issue. "He is an alcoholic and used to fight with people and abuse them. He was nothing less than an extortionist. He used to force Rajesh and his wife to give him money. He should be given death penalty for killing three innocent people," Om Prakash said Thursday.
According to the police, Chander sprinkled his daughter and son-in-law's apartment with petrol, which he brought from the petrol pump where he worked. He then set the apartment on fire, giving the family no chance to escape. Rajesh and Monika got married in October 2002. He worked as a cashier in a petrol pump in Chicago. He had gone to the US on a tourist visa nearly 10 years ago and was an illegal immigrant. Though their son Vansh was born in US, his grandparents here had looked after him since he was seven months old. He went back to the US in July last year.
Rajesh's family runs an electronics shop in this city. "We do not even have the means to go to the US to get their bodies. We need help," Om Prakash said.


CHICAGO - Subash Chander's sister said family members had no problem with the marriage. "It's the same culture, same everything," Kamla Devi said. "Kids marry all the time against their parents' will, but we - the whole family - accepted him as the son-in-law." Devi said that the family is from Chandigarh in India. Authorities said they did not know when the family came to the U.S., or precisely which castes husband and wife belonged to. Devi said her brother worked at a Wendy's restaurant but had to quit in September because of liver problems.
Chander set a fire last weekend that killed his pregnant daughter, his son-in-law and his 3-year-old grandson, prosecutors say, because he disapproved of his daughter’s marriage. Chander, who lives in Oak Forest, a suburb south of here, told investigators that he was upset with his daughter, Monika Rani, and her husband, Rajesh Kumar, for what he saw as “a cultural slight,” said Robert J. Milan, the first assistant state’s attorney of Cook County. Chander said that the couple had married without his consent and that Kumar was from a lower caste in India than Rani’s family, Milan said.


CHICAGO — A man set a fire last weekend that killed his pregnant daughter, his son-in-law and his 3-year-old grandson, prosecutors say, because he disapproved of his daughter’s marriage. The man, Subhash Chander, who lives in Oak Forest, a suburb south of here, told investigators that he was upset with his daughter, Monika Rani, and her husband, Rajesh Kumar, for what he saw as “a cultural slight,” said Robert J. Milan, the first assistant state’s attorney of Cook County. Chander said that the couple had married without his consent and that Kumar was from a lower caste in India than Rani’s family, Milan said.
Chander, 57, was held without bail on Wednesday, charged with three counts of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and intentional homicide of an unborn child. Rani, 22, was five months pregnant with the couple’s second child. A defense lawyer assigned to Chander’s case did not respond to a telephone message. On Saturday night, firefighters were called to a blaze that was swiftly consuming an apartment complex where more than 70 people were inside. People raced down stairs, and others jumped from balcony windows. Remarkably, the authorities said, most escaped without serious injuries.
The authorities said the fire started outside the door of Apartment 209, where Rani, Kumar and their son, Vansh Kumar, 3, lived. A witness told the police that just after the fire started he saw a man matching Chander’s description in the hallway smelling of gasoline and carrying a plastic container. An attendant at a gasoline station told the police that Chander had bought a plastic container of gasoline at his station two hours before the fire. Not long after the fire, the police found the container in the garbage bin outside Chander’s apartment building, just across the street from his daughter’s building.
Chander acknowledged setting the fire, the authorities said, but said it had started during an unexpected confrontation with his family members. Chander told the police that his son-in-law had pushed him, leading him to spill the gasoline, which he had bought for a relative, Milan said. Chander said he grew angry, pulled out his lighter and set the apartment on fire, Milan added. Then, Chander said, he left, threw away the container and went home, Milan said, adding that he did not call the police, firefighters or his daughter.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Harvey Kooner
Benevolent Brotherhood Society
Santa’s job will be a bit easier this year, as the Lower Mainland came together to honour the memory of Victor Ghirra through an inaugural toy drive. Over 1,500 toys packed the Riverside Palace in Richmond on Saturday, December 15th. All to pay tribute to the legacy of the man with a goldenheart: Victor Ghirra. “Victor is not with us today, but looking around and seeing all the generousity from people in the community; his spirit is stillwith us,” said Bobby Ghirra, General Manager of Riverside Hall and Victor’solder brother. The toys will be evenly distributed to: Children’s Hospital, Lower Mainland Salvation Army and the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.
Victor had a big heart. He donated thousands of dollars worth of toys to Children's Hospital for over 14 years. Whenever they asked: “Who are you? Which organization are you from?” He would say: "It doesn't matter who I am, those toys are for the kids and that's all you need to know." The touching part of this story is that Victor never told anyone about it. Individuals close to him did not even know about this good deed. His funeral was very moving. He passed away at the age of 37; he left behind 4 young sons and his wife. There were close to 2,000 people at his funeral. The Ghirra Family, The Benevolent Brotherhood Society, Riverside Halls and Vancity Insurance hope that these toys bring smiles to children’s lives.
To find out more about the Benevolent Brotherhood Society and how you canhelp. If you wish to volunteer your time, energy and efforts please contactthem at: hkooner@shaw.ca or phone: 604.671.4180.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Sudarshan Kandola is in disbelief that her son Baljinder Kandola, who the whole family was so proud of for being a Canada Border officer, faces six charges including importing cocaine and guns, breach of trust and bribery. "I don't know how he got involved in it. He was so protective about his job. He would tell his own brothers never to get on the wrong side of the law because that would reflect badly on him."
Sudarshan said that for her son, Canada Border job was a dream come true. "My son was so happy to get the job. He was on top of the world. He would always be very careful of who he is talking to and who he is meeting. My son was very cautious about his company too. He didn't want to mingle with the wrong kind of people. All this just to protect his job, because he was loyal and didn't want any stain on his uniform," Kandola added in Punjabi.
The 35-year old Surrey man, a six-year border services officer, was arrested late Thursday night and is accused of allowing two Richmond men with organized-crime links to enter Canada illegally, one with an SUV filled with $6 million in cocaine and three handguns. Shaminder Johal, 34, and Herman Riar, 26, were driving the two vehicles packed with contraband. The men allegedly used Kandola's border booth at the Pacific Highway truck crossing to enter Canada in similar-looking GMC Yukons. They were arrested a short distance away, after police determined Kandola had arranged "safe passage" for them.
The three accused appeared in the Surrey Provincial Court on Monday to fix a date for a bail hearing. Dressed in red jail uniform, Kandola entered the court room with his head held down. The other two accused, however, were seen whispering to each other and smiling. The court room was packed with family members - while some of them stayed composed, the others were heard sobbing.
Sudarshan Kandola said that no one in her family knew about her son's intentions. "No. Nobody in my family knew anything. We didn't know it until his arrest. We are a happy family and everyone is earning well. They are all doing well for themselves. We do not get involved in such things. I have five sons and all are happy with their lives." She also mentioned that her doesn't have any criminal record and was never involved in any illegal activity, "that's why when the police searched our home, they didn't find anything. Th police came with a search warrant immidiately after his arrest and there was nothing they found."
The Kandola family owns a clothes shop and a herbal store in Surrey. Sitting in the family store with one of her grandsons, Sudarshan explained what the family is going through. Shortly after, she starts to cry, followed by her grandson. "This is difficult for the family. Baljinder has a young son and he is very attached to his father. He keeps asking for his father. What do we tell him?"
"I still can't believe it. I feel this is just a nightmare and will get over soon. My son wasn't like this. He would tell others to keep away from drugs, gangs or anything illegal." Sudarshan Kandola said that her son is a baptised Sikh who prays every morning. "He was so happy. I feel somebody brainwashed him into it. There is nothing lacking in our family. His wife has a good paying job. I don't know how he got into it. Sometimes when i think of it I feel may be his mind just changed. The other times I feel this is destiny, it had to happen."

Monday, October 29, 2007


Pooja Sekhon

As a new Canadian I believed that I am needed and wanted in this country. That my life, my values, culture and religion are important to this country. But every now and then some boorish individual tries to shake that belief. This time, that individual is CKNW's Bruce Allen. His "Reality Check" is one of the segments I enjoy the most, because it hits you right in the face. But in his recent segment, he went too far.
I am talking about the Reality Check broadcast on September 13 on CKNW. After the segment was aired, I received a couple of mails condemning the comments. I ignored them because I didn’t want to be a part of their race game. I hate to admit it, I was wrong. When I listened to the segment, I realized what they meant.
Eight days after it was broadcast, Surrey’s radio station RED FM picked up the issue and held an open line talk show. Other Punjabi media outlets followed. People who called in the talk show were most hurt by comments such as "you are not needed in this country", "shut up and fit in", and "hit the door".
“Hit the door”, that hits hard.
I thought people form a nation, not shopping malls and pubs. If we all hit the door, and by all I mean Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and all those who “don’t fit in”, what will be left of Canada. Has anyone ever thought of that?
Wherever there are different faiths, problem(s) arise. There are four main faiths in India, not to overlook the numerous unspecified ones. However, there is always a better way to solve every issue. We just have to look for it.
While I was writing this piece, I also found out that Sikhs in Los Angeles are planning a protest against a radio station after one its radio jockeys referred to turbaned Sikhs as wearing a “diaper” on their heads.
Coming back to Canada, what about the second generation Canadians whose parents immigrated from India and other South Asian countries. For this second generation, Canada is their mother country. They don’t want to “hit the door” and go back to India. They are born in a Sikh, Hindu or Muslim family, so they follow their religion. They don’t want to abandon their identity and be like the rest of them. They are as Canadian as any white Canadian. What are they suppose to do? Any suggestions.
Radio Station RED FM spoke to CKNW host Christy Clark on the issue. According to her, the comments were uncalled for. “We are not a homogenous European country where everybody has white skin and goes to the same Church. We are a country of people from all over the world, that’s our richness, that’s our strength. To tell people to go home if they don’t act like a European, that’s ridiculous. I think people who believe that if you live in this country, you should act like a European should go back to Europe. If that’s what they like, go back to Holland. Everybody is blonde and white in Holland.”
Clark further added, “Bruce is a great strength and he has very strong opinions. His views are from the Stone Age, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a right to express them. Fact is that in Canada there are people of European descent who still share those views. They are mostly older white people, but they are there and they have a right to express their views.”
Clark then spoke to Allen on her show and in his defense he said that he has always supported immigrant issues and that he was misunderstood. Eventually, he said, "I am sorry if I offended anyone."
Finally, this is not about Bruce Allen or some other individual. This is about the attitude that since we have come to this country we have to be like the rest. No, we don’t. We love this country. But, do I have to be like my neighbor to love this country. No, I don’t. We have our own identity, our own religion, culture and values. And, we are going to stick to it, whether someone likes it or not.
Nah, I am not doing Allen here. I am just trying to regain my belief that I am needed and wanted in this country.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Sikhs in Los Angeles are planning a protest against a radio station after one of its radio jockeys (RJs) referred to turbaned Sikhs as wearing a "diaper" on their head. RJ Al Rantel was discussing US airport security in his talk show "KABC 790AM" on September 10 where he allegedly said that if his own 80-year-old mother had to take off her shoes during a security screening, "... then why shouldn't a Sikh be required to take off the hat that looks like a diaper they wear on their heads?"
The comment has angered the Sikh community, which said they would start protests if the RJ did not apologise. "If he does not correct himself on the air, we're going to put pressure on him," Navraj Singh told India-West, an ethnic Indian newspaper. "I'm getting calls from around the country, and Sikh temples are collecting signatures," said Singh, a resident of Encino, California, adding he was ready to lead a protest outside the radio station. Singh has written a strongly worded letter to Rantel, challenging him to an on-air debate. Rantel's team has not yet responded.
According to a new Homeland Security Department policy, which came into force on August 4, Sikhs have to remove their turbans at US airports for security checks. The new security guideline has already upset the large Sikh population in the US. Sikhs have often been confused as Muslims, and its members often suffer due to anti-Muslim sentiments. Hate crimes against Sikhs increased after September 11, 2001.