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The South Asian Insider

Indian student attacked for using Canada food bank claims racial bias

 (Sai Bureau)-An Indian data scientist who has faced vitriolic attack over his video showing how he used food banks in Canada has claimed it was racial bias that got people to target him. He told IndiaToday.In that he feared for his safety and hadn't ventured out of his room for the last six days.
The Indian data scientist, Mehul Prajapati, who is on a student visa in Canada, reached out to IndiaToday.In to share his side of the story after facing attacks over his video. The video showed how he used food banks, meant for the underprivileged and struggling students, to stock up on groceries and save money.
The now-deleted video went viral and he faced backlash. Many people pointed out that Prajapati's salary, reportedly around 98,000 Canadian dollars per year, meant he did not need to rely on food banks intended for struggling students.
They tagged his employer, TD Bank, and sought action against him. TD Bank confirmed that Prajapati was no longer working with it.
Mehul Prajapati arrived in Canada in 2022 on a student visa to pursue a master's degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. As an international student, he highlighted the challenges, including financial strain and mental stress, of being away from family in a foreign country.While sharing his story with IndiaToday.In, Prajapati said it wasn't possible for him to have worked full-time with TD Bank because he was on a student visa.Regarding his employment status, Prajapati explained that his course included an internship, which concluded on December 22, 2023. Since then, he hasn't worked for any organisation.
The university, in collaboration with Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG) and Martin Luther University College, provides free groceries for students facing food insecurity.
Prajapati said his video was for educational purposes and meant for international students. He also said he only mentioned his college's food bank, not government-run food banks, in his video.
"The resource mentioned in the video is meant for university students specifically, not the general public. Everything I mentioned is factual, as per the website," said Prajapati.
The college website elaborates on the programme, stating that it offers free groceries and essentials for Laurier and Luther students in need.
To access this, students must be enroled at either college and have proper identification. Prajapati had also volunteered for the program previously.
“LSPIRG and Martin Luther University College welcome you to our Free Weekly Distro program to combat food insecurity on campus. We provide free groceries and other essentials for Laurier and Luther students who need them,” college website read.
"Take as much as you need. We do not limit how much students take because we don't know how much you need," the college website added.
In the video, he emphasised checking university websites, as the content was tailored for students.
Prajapati clarified that his intention was to inform students about university food banks, not to steal resources.
"My aim was to help students, not take from others," Prajapati said.
@Slatzism, a social media user, triggered Prajapati's troubles by spreading misconceptions about his video.
Without solid evidence, @Slatzism's actions caused unnecessary consequences.
"For the past six days, I've stayed indoors due to mental stress caused by hurtful comments. These accounts are spreading rumours without solid proof, targeting a specific group. It's discrimination and racial bullying, and I'm a victim of it," Prajapati concluded.
Prajapati's story is yet another reminder of the dark side of social media, where people form instantaneous opinions and gang up on individuals without caring for the whole truth.