The bold and brave journalist, Hartosh Singh Bal, has been facing resistance from some Khalistani activists in Canada over his appearance in an online event to be organised by the Punjabi Studies in the University of British Columbia.
Hartosh Bal, the political editor of Caravan magazine was invited to be the part of the annual Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program on April 7 as one of the panelists. However, after reports of UBC being pressurized by some Sikh Activists, the event has been cancelled.
Talking to the True Scoop News, Hartosh Bal, confirmed that he has received an informal Whatsapp message from the UBC saying the scheduled event has been cancelled.
When asked about the reason, Bal said that there are always some self-styled gatekeepers in a community who pretends to be the saviour but they are actually not. “These activists who allegedly have pressurized UBC to cancel this event, they just pretend to be standing in solidarity with farmers, in fact they have nothing to do with farmers' cause, they have their own personal motives or agendas”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Caravan’s Editor was supposed to talk about the ongoing farmer's protest and the controversial farm laws passed in India in September last year.
Besides, Ujjal Dosanjh, a lawyer and politician took to twitter, and said “If UBC cancels Bal’s appearance due to Khalistani Sikhs pressure, I’ll publically torch my UBC LLB degree”.
Also, if reports are to be believed, the activists in question are opposing Hartosh Bal’s presence because he is the nephew of a highly controversial police officer, the late K.P.S Gill.
The police officer Gill was accused of the brutality and killing of thousands of Sikhs and political activists in the 1980s and 1990s.
Gill’s nephew, journalist Hartosh Bal has covered the violent acts against Sikhs in 1984. Bal has constantly written about what happened to Sikhs in the genocide and blames majoritarian democracy for this situation of minorities in the nation.
Bal also criticizes the actions of Narendra Modi and his government and shows parallels between the policies of PM Modi and those of Indira Gandhi.
Gurpreet Singh, cofounder of Radical Desi magazine on the issue said that the people who have made a fuss about Bal’s event are no different than the ruling party in India. He said that these people have to understand that by silencing Bal, they are only making their enemies happy.