The boy was attacked in Kelowna city in British Columbia on Monday afternoon in what was said to be the second such attack on a Sikh youth in the area this year.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSOC) said the boy was attacked while riding a bus around 3.45pm and was later pepper sprayed as well.
Kelowna’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement on Thursday that there was “no doubt that the victim was bear sprayed and assaulted by the accused; this has been made quite clear”.
“Two individuals approached the student and first barred his entry onto the bus and then, once allowing him to board, began to threaten him with a lighter and (began to) photograph and record him from a close distance with their phones,” WSOC said in its own statement earlier on Wednesday.
“When the Sikh student turned away, the attackers’ phone fell from their hands and they began to kick and punch the Sikh student in front of the bus driver. The bus driver did not intervene, and, in fact, ordered the Sikh student and his attackers off the bus at the Rutland and Robson stop,” it said.
The WSOC said the attackers continued to assault the teenager. The boy was also bear sprayed, it said, and it was only when bystanders stepped in that the assault came to an end.
The student’s identity was not revealed by police or local media. The Sikh student is reportedly new to Canada.
The WSOC said this was the second attack on a Sikh in Kelowna this year, citing a previous attack that had taken place in March.
“Monday’s attack on a Sikh high school student in Kelowna is shocking and unacceptable,” said Guntaas Kaur, WSOC vice-president for British Columbia.
“The Sikh high school student is recovering from his injuries and from the pepper spray but cannot understand why he was assaulted,” Ms Kaur said. “He is afraid to return to school for fear of being attacked again.”
The Kelowna RCMP earlier said it had launched an investigation into the case. The police force said it was collecting video evidence and “taking steps to determine the motivation of this crime”.
The police force also said in its updated statement that a suspect was arrested on Wednesday and reports said the accused was produced before a court a day later.
“To protect the integrity of this investigation and the judicial process involving a youth, no further details regarding the youth or their statement will be provided,” senior police official Michael Gauthier said.
“Investigators will be conducting video analysis and reviewing additional evidence to determine what transpired on the bus prior to all parties being directed off the bus,” he said.
“This evidence will be important for police and prosecutors to understand what led up to the assault with a weapon and the motivation for the crime. There is no doubt that the victim was bear sprayed and assaulted by the accused; this has been made quite clear.
“While the effects of bear spray are extremely painful and may only be temporary, the effects of this young man’s decisions will last much much longer,” he said.
“We condemn any acts of violence in our community and are thoroughly investigating this matter.”