2013 NEWS ROUNDUP: JANUARY TO JUNE – MARCH

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WRESTLING: SOUTH ASIAN BOYS WIN 11 GOLD, 7 SILVER, 4 BRONZE MEDALS

In 2011, South Asian boys won five gold, five silver and three bronze medals at the Provincial High School Wrestling Championships.

In 2012, they won 10 gold, six silver and seven bronze medals.

This year, they won 11 gold, seven silver and four bronze medals in the 17 weight categories.

What is more, there was a substantial increase in the number of South Asian wrestlers in the first six positions in the lower weight categories.

On the other hand, there was only one South Asian female wrestler: Ami Sidhu of Frank Hurt who came fifth in the 69 kg category which had 17 entries.

Abbotsford schools could boast of winning a plethora of medals with M. J. Mouat winning their first provincial boys title (see photo) – the third consecutive year an Abbotsford school has won that title.

* 110+ kg (9 entries):

1. Amar Dhesi (Burnaby Central)

2. Juma Nathani (John Oliver)

3. Many Kahlon (Frank Hurt)

* 110 kg (22 entries):

1. Paul Sahota (Tamanawis)

2. Jason Bains (Queen Elizabeth)

5. Gagan Sohol (Burnaby South)

* 90 kg (17 entries):

1. Daman Bilen (Queen Elizabeth)

2. Rajan Gill (MEI – Mennonite)

* 84 kg (21 entries)

1. Jobanjit Phulka (Hansen)

2. Austin Batra (W J Mouat)

4. Jimmy Sidhu (Burnaby South)

* 78 kg (20 entries)

1. Nishan Randhawa (W J Mouat)

2. Devin Purewal (Yale)

3. Sukh Sidhu (Abby Traditional)

5. Sajan Atwal (Delview)

* 74 kg (25 entries)

1. Jaskarn Ranu (Lord Tweedsmuir)

3. Billy Sahota (Matheson)

* 70 kg (25 entries)

1. Justin Gill (Rick Hansen)

2. Arshvir Atwal (Lord Tweedsmuir)

3. Yosh Phull (Tamanawis)

* 66 kg (23 entries)

5. Suki Sekhon (Queen Elizabeth)

6. Gagan Sangha (W J Mouat)

* 63 kg (21 entries)

1. Dallan Bhatti (Windsor)

4. Tanjot Kahlon (Abby Traditional)

* 60 kg (26 entries)

1. Amrit Benning (W J Mouat)

5. Shaman Ghogal (Maple Ridge)

* 57 kg (25 entries)

4. Rohit Thandi (Queen Elizabeth)

5. Navdeep Dhillon (MEI)

6. Safi Shar (Burnaby South)

* 54 kg (26 entries)

1. Dave Sharma (MEI)

4. Hanar Basran (Hansen)

5. Karn Basra (Enver Creek)

6. Abdullah Saib (South Burnaby)

* 51 kg (23 entries)

5. Davinder Gill (W J Mouat)

* 48 kg (22 entries)

4. Gagan Hundal (Guildford)

* 45 kg (13 entries)

3. Pawan Sangha (W J Mouat)

4. Tejpaul Kullar (Abby Traditional)

6. Eknoor Bajwa (Abby Traditional)

* 41 kg (6 entries)

1. Navdeep Toor (Eugene Reimer)

 

 “CASH MOB CHILLIWACK”: FIGHTING RACISM

Hats off to the great folks at Cash Mob Chilliwack for taking the initiative to back up South Asian businesses in Chilliwack after The Bay Leaf and the Shandhar Hut restaurants were sent racist emails apparently by the same individual using a @hushmail.com address!

The Chilliwack Taxi Ltd. was also sent a racist email.

The Cash Mob announced on its Facebook site (www.facebook.com/CashMobChilliwack): “So the worst kept secret is out, we are Cash Mobbing this Friday at both Shandhar Hut and The Bay. Given the limited capacity of both businesses, we won’t be pre-assembling and showing up as a group. The goal is to show our appreciation, not stand in line all night. Instead, we are inviting everyone in Chilliwack who wants to show their support to come for Lunch, Dinner or to order Take-Out.

“Every person who visits either establishment on Friday will be automatically entered to win some great giveaways from other Chilliwack merchants who also want to show their support. More details to come!”

The announcement was followed by a flood of supportive messages.

South Asians can be proud of such Canadians.

Hollingsworth said: “The Chilliwack RCMP would like to speak to the author of these email’s and are asking him or her to come forward. Anonymous apologies don’t mean much when they don’t hold any weight behind them.”

The Chilliwack RCMP said they would like to offer this person assistance and they indicated in an apology that they may be suffering from mental health issues.

 

 

NARWAL ACQUITTED OF IMPORTING COCAINE

Surrey trucker Amritpal Singh Narwal has been acquitted of unlawfully importing cocaine and possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

Narwal was stopped on July 19, 2009, at the Huntingdon border crossing on his way to Canada. Part of the interior of the refrigeration unit in his truck had been hollowed out and filled with about 144 kilos of cocaine that had a street value of more than five million dollars in 2009. The profit for anyone picking up the cocaine in Los Angeles and selling it in Vancouver could be over one million dollars.

Narwal was working full-time for another trucking company and part-time as a truck driver for a trucking company in Surrey. He was a single 27-year-old with no criminal record.

Narwal said he had no idea that cocaine was in the trailer and that he was not involved at all in putting it there.

The judge concluded that “whoever loaded the cocaine did it without the accused’s knowledge and involvement so that the accused would not appear nervous at the border or disappear with the cocaine. … No matter how that was done, I am satisfied the accused was not complicit in the importation of the cocaine and was not wilfully blind to its presence in his trailer. … I find the accused not guilty of the charges on the basis of reasonable doubt.”

 

 

TOIFA CRISIS: LOWER PRICES FOR MUSICAL SHOW

TOIFA – The Times of India Film Awards – organizers were fidning it hard to sell tickets for the April 4 Musical Extravaganza at the Pacific Coliseum and were forced to announce “a limited time special offer” with floor seats for only $200-$300 and lower bowl seats for $100.

But that angered those who quickly bought $500 tickets when they went on sale. One South Asian businessman showed Asian Journal his tickets’ confirmation details.

When he checked the cost for the same section later, he found that the tickets cost only $300 each!

When the businessman phoned the company “TicketLeader” on Wednesday to demand a refund, he was snubbed. But on Thursday he suddenly received a call from them to inform him that he would get the price difference refunded to his credit card within five days.

This change in attitude might have taken place because I sent out emails about this case to various mainstream media newspapers and radio stations.

Also, many South Asians said that with the lineup of performers announced this week, the tickets were not worth more than $100!

 

 

POONAM RANDHAWA CASE: KILLER MAKES GUILTY PLEA

Ninderjit Singh, 35, who was arrested in California in August 2011 and subsequently extradited back to Canada to face a first-degree murder charge in the 1999 slaying of Vancouver school student Poonam Randhawa, 18, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder in B.C. Supreme Court in a surprise move just when his trial by jury was to have begun.

In April, he was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 16 years.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler noted that there were many aggravating factors and that the murder had been committed with considerable forethought and was preceded by violent acts. He also pointed out that that recorded conversations in which he had threatened his wife from prison showed that he was continuing to bully women.

On January 26, 1999, just after Randhawa had turned 18, police believe that Ninderjit, who also went by the names of Soos and Bira or Beera, took her in his car, shot her in the head and dumped her body in a Vancouver alleyway in the 1400-block West of 47th Avenue.

Ninderjit had reportedly courted Randhawa for nearly a year, but she told no one about her secret dating. When she could not tolerate his advances, she moved to another school, Winston Churchill secondary in Vancouver, and also changed her home phone number. But Ninderjit kept stalking her. Her friends and family were baffled as to why she went out with him that afternoon. Ninderjit fled to the U.S.

 

 

FARMWORKERS’ MONUMENT AT ABBOTSFORD

Six year after the van accident that took the lives of three farmworkers, Amarjit Kaur Bal, Sukhvinder Kaur Punia and Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu, in the Fraser Valley, more needs to be done to make farming safe in our province, B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair said at an Abbotsford vigil honouring the women.

The vigil, jointly hosted by the B.C. Federation of Labour, Progressive Intercultural Community Services, Abbotsford Community Services, and the women’s families, included the unveiling of a beautiful model of the monument that will be erected in memory of the women.

Since the coroner’s inquest into the accident, not all of the 18 recommendations have been fully implemented, leaving many farmworkers exposed to unnecessary risks. The B.C. Federation of Labour continues to advocate for full implementation of the recommendations.

 

 

SHAKTI AWARDS: CELEBRATING WOMEN

In honour of International Women’s Day, the Shakti Awards once again celebrated women and the power within. Over 350 guests enjoyed an evening of inspiring talks.

Award recipients:

Academic Achievement – Mahinder Doman Minhaz.

Artistic Achievement – Mindy Kalsi Bansal.

Public Service –Volunteer – Gurjinder Bhurji.

Business and Entrepreneur – Ashley Avinashi.

Athletic Achievement – Mandeep Patrola.

Honorary Award – Iti Kalsi.

 

 

PANORAMA RIDGE GRADE 8 GIRLS: BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Surrey’s Panorama Ridge grade 8 girls team won the BC Provincial Basketball Championship in a final match with Sea Cove Secondary School on March 9, in Pitt Meadows.

Savannah Dhaliwal got the Most Valuable Player award for her performance in the final match.

Arman K. Sahota and Kuljit K. Johal got the All Star award for scoring the most goals in the whole championship.

The team members: Simrit Bindra, Savannah Dhaliwal, Arshdeep Gill, Arman Sahota,  Simrat Dosanjh, Kuljit Johal, Hiba Tahir, Tanroop Sidhu, Rose Rai, Anna Kooner, Harneet Dadrao, Rajvir Heer, and Anmol Gill.

Coaches: Rajwinder K. Bindra, Mr. Sowerby, Mr. Nelson, and Mr. Hollistan.

 

 

3300 ROYAL CANADIAN ARMY CADET CORPS

The Army Cadet Program at 3300 RCACC, British Columbia Regiment, is being offered to Surrey youth (both male and female), ages 12-18, by the Canadian Cadet Movement through a partnership between the Department of National Defence, the Army Cadet League of Canada, local 3300 RCACC sponsor committee and sponsor “Friends of Sikh Cadets Society” with the combined goal to provide a premier program delivering leadership, teamwork and self-discipline skills.

The historic inauguration and flag presentation ceremony was attended by hundreds of people at Surrey’s Bombay Banquet Hall on March 14. The presiding officer was MP Jasbir Sandhu. Senator Yonah Martin represented Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji, President of the Parents Sponsoring Commitee, has been a major figure behind the program and his son is a cadet, too. Dr. Bhurji presented one of the flags to Major Jim Blomme, Commanding Officer, while Lt.-Col. Harjit Sajjan presented the British Columbia Regiment Flag to Major Blomme.

This is the first time that there has been a partnership between the Sikh community and the Department of National Defence to create such a program.

For more info: www.3300armycadets.ca. Email: 3300armycadets@gmail.com or 3300bcr@gmail.com. Phone: 604-446-9933.

 

 

SADDA HAQ: PRODUCER KULJINDER SIDHU

Globally, there was a wave of interest in the film Sadda Haq (which was released in April all around the world). It was to be screened locally in Surrey. The Canadian Sikh Coalition (CSC) had secured the distribution rights to the film. What raised eyebrows was the fact that the movie was banned by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), but was cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), Indira Prahst reported.

The film was based on the events in the 1980s and 1990s in Punjab, the period of armed Sikh struggle. Many important and specific episodes of the period were depicted in the movie. They included human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra’s murder, police torture and fake encounters, jail break, and the assassination of a politician responsible for unleashing region of terror on the people of Punjab.

Film producer Kuljinder Sidhu (see photo) told Indira Prahst from India that the film aimed to shed light on the misperceptions about the militant time period in Punjab. He noted: “The Indian government has projected that it is a law and order problem but we have projected that it was a political issue. (Sikhs) in Punjab had genuine demands (in preserving) their heritage and history. They (the Indian state) created such a situation that many Sikh youngsters took up arms against their own government. This is what created the movement.”