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

Punjabi media fraternity in Canada expresses solidarity with Nitasha Kaul Featured

A renowned UK-based author and scholar who was recently deported from India has received unanimous support of the Punjab Press Club of British Columbia (PPCBC).

Nitasha Kaul was detained at Bengaluru airport and forced to leave the country, in spite of valid travel documents, merely because of her criticism of policies of the right wing Hindu nationalist BJP government in New Delhi.  A Kashmiri Hindu woman herself, she has been opposed to growing repression of Muslims and other minority communities in India, and is known for her advocacy for secularism.

Kaul, who has been visiting India frequently, was invited by a non-BJP government in Karnataka for an event to promote pluralism. However, she was denied entry to the country by the central government.

In one of the four resolutions passed by PPCBC, the members condemned the mistreatment meted out to Kaul at an Indian airport. “This reflects very badly on the world’s so-called largest democracy. And we strongly denounce what Indian establishment has done to a respectable person like Kaul,” the resolution read.

The members emphasized that this is an assault on the right to free expression, and that if freedom of speech is allowed to be stifled, press freedom cannot survive either. They also condemned the banning of books from public display by a Quebec writer, for her opposition to the Israeli aggression in Gaza. Elise Gravel has written several picture books and graphic novels for children. Her books were removed from public display by a Jewish Library in Montreal.

In another resolution, the PPCBC endorsed an open letter to the Israeli government by more than 50 journalists asking for access to Gaza, and expressed their condolences to the families of a dozen journalists killed during Israeli attacks.

The fourth resolution welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier David Eby for taking a stand against Bell Company which is laying off journalists and selling radio stations for maximizing profits, but also called upon the two leaders to give the media industry necessary support to ensure its long term survival and job protection for its workers.


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