Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen

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Old 20-Nov-2009
Thumbs down Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen

TORONTO -- The editor of a Punjabi newspaper was held at gunpoint by three masked men outside the newspaper's offices northwest of the city late Friday night, during an attack and attempted kidnapping that may have been sparked by the Sikh man's anti-extremist political views, the victim said.


Jagdish Grewal, a 42-year-old Toronto man and father of three, was leaving the Punjabi Post newsroom in Brampton around 11:40 p.m. when the men, dressed in black and sporting face masks, emerged from the parking lot and charged toward him armed with a baton and a gun.

Mr. Grewal, who also hosts a daily Punjabi radio show, said he fled to his van and locked the doors, but the men smashed the windows, pulled him out by his turban, put a gun to his head and beat him as they dragged him toward another van parked just four spaces away. Mr. Grewal said he managed to honk the horn and alert a late-shift employee, who then locked the office doors and called police.

"The men said nothing as they beat me and tried to lift me by my arms and legs to the car, until they saw my employee at the doors," Mr. Grewal said from his home yesterday. "Then I heard one of them yell in Punjab ‘Kill him! Kill him!' but another man yelled ‘Let's go!' I thought that was it for me. I thought of my family and God, and I truly thought I was going to Him then."
But the men fled, and left Mr. Grewal in the parking lot, bleeding from the mouth and with his turban strewn on the ground.

Mr. Grewal, who in 2002 founded the Punjabi Post, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 18,000, said it is highly probable that the attack was fuelled by his political views and his high-profile in the community. "They did not tell me who they were or why they were trying to kidnap me, but I think they may have been pro-separatist Sikhs who disagree with my views," he said. "I do not speak the language of violence, and I have been threatened in the past because of that."

Mr. Grewal said he does not support the Khalistan movement -- a separatist movement aimed at creating a Sikh homeland within India's northern state of Punjab -- and has received threats related to this and other political positions in the past. Mr. Grewal recently told Peel police about alarming phone calls he received after condemning Jarnial Singh, who threw his shoe at India's foreign affair minister to protest the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, during a radio interview with Mr. Singh three weeks ago.

"Some people don't like my liberal opinions on certain issues, nor do they accept my calls for a non-violent solution to their belief that India discriminates against them," he said, adding that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Indian army's raid of the Sikh-held Golden Temple, a violent clash between Indian troops and Sikh militants that killed nearly 300 people.

Freedom of speech ??

Peel Regional Police Constable J.P. Valade said all motives are being considered, including the notion that the attackers may have targeted Mr. Grewal because of his political positions. "We are continuing the investigation, and will implement safety measures to protect th e victim in all aspects of his life as we move forward," he said.
The attack has sparked fear among leaders and journalists in the Punjab community, said Balraj Deol, editor of a weekly Punjabi newspaper and friend of Mr. Grewal who arrived at the scene around midnight. "If a moderate media personality can be targeted and attacked this way, then the rest of us are left scared for our own lives," said Mr. Deol, adding that he was attacked in his Toronto home by extremists more than more 20 years ago. "It was Jagdish on Friday night, but it could be any of us tomorrow."

Mr. Grewal said leaders among the Punjab community gathered in his living room over the weekend and, while shaken by Friday's attack, urged him not to be silenced by his attackers. "I won't let them scare me out of publishing or doing my radio show," Mr. Grewal said, though he said he was unsure whether he would attend an award dinner last night in which he was to be honoured by a South Asian group for his radio show, Khabarsar.

Const. Valade would not comment as to whether there was surveillance footage of the attack, but said police are interviewing witnesses.
Mr. Grewal said he has little to offer police about the identities of his attackers. "All I saw was a long, greying beard peaking out from one of the men's masks," he said. "I just hope they don't strike back. That's all I can hope."

Mr. Deol said if it turns out the attack on Mr. Grewal was politically charged, then the incident will inevitably elicit memories of the 1998 murder of Tara Singh Hayer. Mr. Hayer, a Sikh newspaper publisher in British Columbia, initially supported a separate Sikh homeland but was killed after he later spoke out against violence in the separatist movement.

Old 20-Nov-2009
Re: Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen


Old 20-Nov-2009
Re: Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen

Strongly condemned! Attackers really have to be amongst the bigtime losers. If they care at all, they shall come out in open, help get the justice done and (or) bring perpetrators of 1984 pogrom to book than committing such cowardly and depraved to the core acts. And in my book one really needs to be 'Khalis' before one pro-claims the formation of Khalistan at least in order to do justice to the name of the dreamed land i.e. Khalistan.

Old 21-Nov-2009
Re: Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen

Yeah, that's bad.
Same types of treatment was given to M.F. Hussian (for his paintings), or to the Publisher of book "Punj Teer", or to the publisher of "Open Secrets by Maloy Krishna Dhar".

Really, I don't know where is the freedom of speech.

P.S-> I am not justifying anything. i mentioned above example to break the notion of few nationalist who believe that India has freedom of speech.

Old 21-Nov-2009
userid 56304
Re: Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen

These people should be given the same treatment.....drag them through the street and see how the feel.

The way to fight ignorance is educate people about it.......However i wonder what this guy did that made them do this.

There are always two sides to the story. Might just listen to his radio broadcasts from now on to find out.

Old 21-Nov-2009
Und3rgr0und J4tt1
Re: Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen


Old 21-Nov-2009
Re: Toronto Sikh editor attacked by gunmen

mari gal a ...

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