BY RATTAN MALL
ABBOTSFORD Police were on the alert during Halloween because of the continuing tensions between two groups of South Asian youths that have been going on for months and have been reported in this newspaper several times.
But the night went off peacefully.
Constable Ian MacDonald told The VOICE on Thursday: “I take it as a positive sign. We deployed a lot of resources on Halloween because we thought if something could happen, Halloween might be the time it takes place. And the good news is we didn’t have any major incidents on Halloween.”
Earlier last month, Harwindip Singh Baringh, 18, was found shot dead in the driver’s seat of a dark coloured SUV in the 30500 block of Sparrow Drive in West Abbotsford.
Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman, who chairs the Abbotsford Police Board as part of his duties as mayor, said he was committed to seeing justice done in this case and noted: “These kinds of appalling events must be stopped. We known that every community has bad elements, and the whole community is in shock due to the acts of these few individuals, but as your mayor I can assure you that we are committed to bringing the offenders to justice.”
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team that is handling the case has yet to make an arrest in the case.
MacDonald noted that though nothing major occurred on Halloween, they still have the occasional incident that police can’t directly connect to the two South Asian groups of youths though they certainly suspect that these are a continuation of the ongoing feud.
When I told MacDonald that I would have thought that Baringh’s murder would have knocked some sense into the youths, he pointed out: “Like most things, it kind of has an immediate effect … I think for some people, the wiser people, it provides that shock and reality … but at the end of the day, we have people who have been making stupid decisions for several months and so to try to stop 20 people from making stupid decisions, it takes a lot more work than just sometimes showing them the consequences. It takes a lot more work than the police department and the media and even community leaders telling them how stupid their decisions are.”
He added; “I think it’s going to be a work in progress for some time, to be honest with you.”
MacDonald said the community has been very involved in dealing with this and police appreciate their assistance.
He added: “At one level it’s such a basic issue – youth making core decisions and maybe needing some mentoring and guiding to make better decisions. Due to the nature and the history of the conflict between the groups, it’s a lot more complicated in terms of trying to make it stop. Everything that we can do that will hopefully get people to move away from the conflict is what we are trying.”
MacDonald, however, said that the feud is not gang-related and involves some 20 youths on either side.