An editor and publisher of a Canadian ethnic newspaper feels he is lucky to be alive after being kicked and beaten by gun-toting mask men in Brampton, a Toronto suburb about 40 kms away.
Jagdish Singh Grewal, the 42-year-old editor of the Punjabi Post, doesnt know why he was attacked. He told the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun reporters that the attack and attempted abduction could be linked to his anti-extremist views or because his newspaper has led a crusade against the widespread consumption of dode, an addictive opiate made from poppy plant husks, which is openly available at some meat shops in the Brampton region, heavily populated by east Indians.
His publication has also run stories about alleged criminal activity in the trucking industry. Grewal has taken a pro-India stance on political issues.
The three masked men attacked Grewal around 11:40 p.m. as he was leaving his office. Grewal got into his car and honked his horn to alert newsroom employees but the attackers smashed a window and dragged him outside.
Fortunately, an employee saw the attack, ran inside to call emergency, and that forced the attackers to flee, not before one of the attackers cried in Punjabi, “Kill him. Kill him.”
Grewal suffered cuts and bruises to his mouth and face.
“They can scare me like that,” Grewal told the Toronto Sun. But he said he was planning on hiring a bodyguard.
The Commonwealth Journalists Association president Hassan Shahriar said he was shocked by the attack, particularly in Canada, a country renowned for its freedom of speech values.