Toronto: An Indo-Canadian mediaperson in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has faced death threats after featuring guests on his television show who were critical of Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, who is currently absconding in Punjab.
Pardeep Bains, host of a Punjabi-language programme, said that these threats included photographs he was sent of his family residence in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab as well as those of the location of his studio in the GTA.
Bains requested the name of his outlet and the location of his studio not be disclosed.
“I’ve only done honest reporting,” Bains said, and presented both sides of the argument but started receiving threats since January this year, before receiving the images this week.
Some of the threats came via WhatsApp calls, with the numbers shown as originating in Pakistan and Malaysia. He also received a threatening letter ostensibly from the Khalistan Liberation Force in February.
Bains said he has informed local law enforcement, Peel Regional Police (PRP), about the threats.
Bains, who said he was concerned over not just his personal safety but also that of his family and staffers at the studio, said he had not taken a side in the issue of Amritpal Singh and his outfit. He said he wanted to make it “clear” that he was “not against or in support of any organisation”.
Bains is not the only Indo-Canadian journalist to face threats related to the issue, as tension continues to rise in Canada.
Sameer Kaushal, who is associated with a Punjabi-language radio outlet in British Columbia, was “threatened” by several people who had gathered in front of the Taj Park Convention Centre in Surrey on Sunday evening. These protesters, numbering nearly 200 blocked the entrance to the venue that was to host India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma for a reception organised by the Friends of India & Canada Foundation. Verma had to cancel his appearance due to concerns over his safety.
Kaushal said he was “pushed” and “threatened” in the public place in front of officers of the Surrey unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but they “remained as mute spectators.”
He said that as yet he has not been contacted by police over the incident nor heard of any action taken against the mob that had gathered at the venue. “The cops should have taken action but they haven’t followed up at all,” he said.