Melbourne, December 1, 2023: As per media reports, Melbourne-based Sikh shopkeeper turned to social media claiming he has been subjected to verbal abuses and a death threat, leaving him fearing for his life, a media report said.
Charanvir Singh, whose video garnered significant attention on social media, questioned the effectiveness of law enforcement in ensuring safety of retail workers being regularly abused in the workplace.
According to the news agency IANS, Singh, who runs a newspaper and lottery shop in Avondale Heights, north-west of Melbourne, told SBS Punjabi news channel that the ordeal began when he denied service to a customer who failed to provide a valid ID matching a parcel’s details.
“What followed was a barrage of abuse and a horrifying death threat, leaving me in fear for my life,” he told the channel.
“When I contacted police, they said ‘we’ll come down when we get a chance’,” he said.
“They arrived an hour later but what if that threat had turned into a reality meanwhile? This was my main reason for making the video as I was terrified that something would happen to me,” Singh said.
Police told SBS Punjabi that at the time of the call, local police units were engaged at another major job.
They acknowledged getting a call from Avondale Heights following an incident with a customer in the evening.
“The only available unit at the time was an Avondale Heights Unit returning from Broadmeadows, who arrived at approximately 7 p.m. and spoke with the victim,” the police said.
Police told the news channel that Singh has received an apology from the customer and did not want to take further police action.
Responding to the police statement, Singh said he understands that there is a “surge of frustrated customers amidst the cost of living crisis and also maybe there is a police shortage but no one deserves to be terrified while doing their job”.