Sunday, 1 November, 2009

Editor brutally beaten at gunpoint

Editor brutally beaten at gunpoint

Punjabi Post chief mystified after kidnap attempt in which masked men said nothing but 'kill him'

Raveena Aulakh Staff Reporter

Punjabi editor Jagdish Grewal was attacked by three men outside his office on Friday.


He was viciously punched, kicked and held at gunpoint, but three days after the violent incident, Jagdish Grewal still doesn't know why.

"They didn't say anything, just punched me hard ... and tried to drag me to their car," Grewal, editor of Punjabi Post, said Monday.

He says the attack and attempted abduction could be linked to his strong anti-extremist views or because his newspaper has led a crusade against the widespread consumption of dode, poppy powder, openly available at some meat shops in Peel Region.

But Grewal, a father of three, said it doesn't have anything to do with the money he owes. "I have some loans, yes, but I owe money to friends and family and I know the attack had nothing to do with it." He said he owed less than $100,000.

Grewal was leaving his office on Sun Pac Blvd. in Brampton at about 11:40 p.m. when three men, in black clothes and sporting face masks, ran towards him. The journalist, who says one of the men had a baton and another a gun, scrambled to get inside his van. He locked himself in and briefly honked to alert employees in the newsroom. But the men smashed a window and dragged him outside.

"They were punching, kicking and dragging me to a van parked about five spots away," said Grewal, who still had a swollen lip and a backache on Monday. The three men, one of whom had a long beard, tried to lift Grewal by his legs and arms.

"But when they saw an employee at the door, one of them screamed in Punjabi: `Kill him. Kill him,'" said Grewal. But seconds later, they fled. When an employee found him, Grewal was bleeding from the mouth, had bruises all over and his turban lay unravelled next to him.

On Monday, he was still shaken as members of Toronto's Punjabi community visited him at his north Etobicoke home.

Grewal, who does not support the Khalistan movement – a separatist movement to create a Sikh state within India's northern province of Punjab – said he received some "strange but not threatening phone calls" when he interviewed a visiting Sikh journalist on his radio show.

Jarnail Singh threw his shoe at India's home minister to protest that government's non-action against those responsible for anti-Sikh riots. On the radio show three weeks ago, Grewal said hurling a shoe wasn't the right thing to do. Singh also agreed.

Balraj Deol, of Khabarnama, another Punjabi newspaper in Peel Region, said Punjabi journalists are worried about their safety now. "To me, it's clearly an effort to muzzle the liberal (Punjabi) press."

1 comment:

  1. I am developing a healthy respect for the British media ... both the Guardian and BBC Online have printed stories on the Nov 1984 pogroms, pointing out the injustice suffered by those Sikhs impacted by the genocide - which is more than can be said for the Canadian media! Days before Nov 1, both the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)and the National Post printed incorrect stories about a Mr. Grewal, editor of a Punjabi newspaper in Toronto. He claims to have been attacked by gunmen. This, he 'believes', was due to his anti-Khalistani views. What the Canadian media failed to point out was that Mr. Grewal, firstly, owes a pile of money to some characters - and admits this fact; secondly, he wrote extensively against the importing of Doda (poppy seeds) as well as illegal trucking in Canada - any of which could have got him attacked by those with vested interests. Unfortunately, goaded on by Indian consular and embassy offices, the Canadian media chose to write only about his anti-Khalistani rantings and portrayed Sikhs as 'terrorists', with Mr. Grewal as a 'moderate' and hero. There was no coverage of the Nov 1984 events. How sad and worrying that the Canadian media is able to put their own slant on the news and portrays the Sikhs in this negative light, all to win favour no doubt with the Indian government! The power of the economic growth, and the prostitution of news media, hey!