Ex-Brampton-based publisher charged with rape in Punjab

BRAMPTON, December 4. 2015 (CINEWS):  Without seeing any evidence against Brampton journalist Baltej Pannu or trying to figure out if the woman who brought rape charges against Mr Pannu made up the whole story, thousands of Brampton residents have every reason to believe that the charges have been trumped up by the Punjab government to silence his criticism.pannu
Over 3,000 Pannu supporters filled the Canadian Convention Centre, Brampton following news of his arrest relating to sexual exploitation and intimidation of a local activist involved in an organization helping disabled children. The Times online reported that she told police Pannu sexually exploited her “by making false promises.” She also alleged Pannu threatened to “malign her image if she failed to do his bidding.”
His supporters here in Toronto are urging Ottawa and the India’s government to intervene.
“He’s an outspoken journalist and he has taken on the Punjabi government,” said Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh, who attended. “We are questioning the legitimacy of these charges. It is a strategy that is often used to silence dissidents.”
Pannu had spent 25 years in Canada before deciding to move back to Punjab with his wife around five years ago.
In Canada he was active in the community and published a now defunct newspaper called Nigara.
In Punjab, Pannu hosted radio shows that aired internationally, including regular spots in the GTA. He’s also involved in a Punjab organization that helps children with disabilities, the same organization where the woman making this allegation works.
Supporters here are willing to give Pannu the benefit of doubt because he has courageously exposed corruption in the state run by CM Parkash Singh Badal and the links his family is alleged to have with organized crime and drug trafficking.
Very few details are emerging at this time and some supporters are wondering if they should react depending on the kind of information they receive in the days to come. Ꮠ

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