Saturday, July 24, 2004

DESI Thugs

The Washington Post's Deneen Brown has written an interesting story focusing on gang violence in Vancouver. Surprisingly, or not, the article focuses on Indo-Canadians as it seems they are both the culprits and the victims of the violence.

What is weird is Canadians are not accustomed to seeing widespread gun violence mainly because the country has strict firearms laws. As a result Canada has lower levels of such crimes than does the United States. According to the government's Canada Firearms Center, the rate of murders committed with firearms in 2001 was 6.5 times higher in the United States than in Canada.

Anyway, it seems the desis in Canada are the anomaly.

In the past 13 years, police have reported 76 young men killed in the Vancouver area in gang-related violence. The authorities blame drug deals gone bad and local turf wars, mostly involving well-to-do young people of Indian descent. Immigrant community leaders in Vancouver complain of police inaction. Police say they have tried, but have been unable to develop leads that would stop the bloodshed. "They are Indo-Canadians killing Indo-Canadians," said Kash Heed, commanding officer of the 3rd Police District in Vancouver. "Seventy-six murders . . . mainly within one ethnic group. The cycle of violence, we've not cracked it yet." "One day suspect, and the next day victim," said Heed, the police commander. "One day you are the shooter. The next day you're lying in your coffin."

He said the killings can be traced to a dispute between Bindy Johal and Ron Donsanjh, two notorious drug dealers. First Donsanjh's brother Jimmy was killed in February 1994.

"Johal was the supposed suspect," Heed said, and Ron Donsanjh heard about it. "They challenged one another. 'Come get me! No, come get me!' " Heed recounted.

Two months later, Ron Donsanjh, 29, was killed in a drive-by shooting.

click here to read the full story.


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