Outspoken Sikh Journalist Jagdish Grewal Attacked

Jagdish Grewal the editor of the Canadian Punjabi Post was attacked by three masked assailants as he left his Brampton Ontario newspaper office.

Grewal is a strong critic of what he considers a rump in the Sikh community who still dream of a separate Sikh state of Khalistan, independent of India. He is also an equally fierce critic of the multi-millionaire drug dealers who import and sell to fellow Indo-Canadians Poppy flowers which is highly addictive but is not officially banned in Canada.

As Grewal was leaving his office shortly before midnight three men dressed in black from head to foot and with faces covered with balaclavas lay in wait for him in the parking lot where his van was parked. When Grewal sensing the imminent attack tried to drive away the assailants broke the driver’s side window of the van, reached in, unlocked the door and dragged Grewal out of the vehicle. The assailants then proceeded to pummel Grewal with an iron bar and a baseball bat. The assailants then attempted to carry Grewal to their vehicle.

As Grewal was being dragged out of his vehicle Grewal had the presence of mind to lean on his vehicle horn which resulted in one of his employees coming out to the parking lot and witness the assault on Grewal . The employee ran back in to the newspaper office and raised the alarm with other employees all of whom who then rushed to Grewal’s rescue.

When the assailants realized that Grewal’s employees had come to the assistance of their boss one of the assailants shouted to the other to that they should kill Grewal. Another of the other assailants disagreed shouting that they should leave the scene immediately and all three attackers then got into their own vehicle and drove away.

The attack on Grewal is eerily similar to the attack on Sri Lankan Tamil Canadian journalist DBS Jeyraj by Toronto based members of the terrorist group known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Jeyraj has been a long time outspoken critic of the LTTTE’s widespread extortion and intimidation of the Canadian Tamil community. As Jeyraj so succinctly writes, he had his head and leg broken as a result of being assaulted with baseball bats by LTTE “goons” in front of his new wife as they were leaving a movie theatre in Toronto.

Though Toronto and Peel Region police are certain that the attack on both journalists are by extremists in the their own ethno-specific communities and though some of the Canadian fronts for the LTTE such as the World Tamil Movement are banned just as are the front organizations seeking a separate state of Khalistan such as the International Sikh Youth Federation, local police have been impotent when it comes to bringing to justice the perpetrators of these heinous acts.

The police have also yet to charge anyone in connection with the murder of Vancouver Sikh journalist Tara Singh Hayer, 62, who was gunned down in the garage of his Surrey, B.C., home on Nov. 18, 1998. Hayer was to be a witness in the Air-India bombing trial where he was to give evidence that he once overheard Babbar Khalsa leader Ajaib Singh Bagri confess to the plot.

These assaults raise two fundamental and very disturbing issues that affect the future of Canada. Should Canadians countenance the “importation” from “back home” of violence and intimidation by immigrant communities? Secondly, are police forces in Canada less inclined to investigate and prosecute “intra-community” crime?

Viresh Fernando is a Toronto based Lawyer and Chartered Accountant as well as an itinerant writer. He can be reached at viresh@oyetimes.com

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