"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Canadian Punjabi Press Club condemns attacks on journalists in Delhi and threats against Sherwani Featured

Arfa Khanum Sherwani Arfa Khanum Sherwani


The members of Surrey-based Punjabi Press Club of BC (PPCBC) have unanimously condemned recent attacks on journalists in the national capital of India.

In a monthly meeting of the club held on Tuesday, March 3, it was resolved to denounce the assault on journalists in Delhi during anti-Muslim violence engineered by supporters of the ruling right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

More than 40 people have died in the bloodshed that followed protests against a controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the BJP government, which wants to turn India into a Hindu theocracy. The act discriminates against Muslim refugees coming from the neighbouring countries and is being opposed by secularist activists.

The BJP supporters had been trying to incite violence against peaceful demonstrators and had targeted Muslims in a well-organized mob attack.

Several journalists were assaulted during the pogroms. One of them was even forced to take off his pants to prove that he was not a Muslim.

As if this was not enough, threats of rape were made against a highly respectable female TV anchor, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, by BJP supporters. Sherwani has been highly critical of CAA and the divisive politics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She has been a target of smear campaigns and fake news aimed at maligning her image.

Also, BC-based journalist Gurpreet Singh was directly threatened by Modi supporters at a teach-in held at the University of British Columbia (UBC) on February 25. The event was organized to educate people about the CAA and its fallout on Muslims. Invited as one of the speakers, Singh had described the act as problematic and sectarian.

The PPCBC expressed its solidarity with Sherwani and flayed all the incidents of physical and verbal assaults against the journalists in India and Canada by those who subscribe to the ideology of BJP.

The outgoing President of the club, Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, moved the motion to condemn the UBC incident and called it an assault on press freedom and media fraternity.

In the meantime, the PPCBC elected its first female President.

Navjot Dhillon is a seasoned journalist, and has been a well-known broadcaster with Radio Red FM. She is a prominent progressive voice within the South Asian community and her popular show Raushani was highly educational and challenged the status quo and social ills.

Dhillon was elected unchallenged for the position.


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