An Indian-origin radio host in Auckland in New Zealand is fighting for his life in hospital after he was stabbed multiple times on a highway. The attack is being linked with his criticism of the ongoing protests by farmers of Punjab in India.
According to the reports, the 53-year-old Harnek Singh was stabbed by unknown assailants on December 23 night near his residence in Wattle Downs. The Indian-origin radio host remains in a critical condition in Middlemore Hospital currently.
The friends of Harnek Singh claimed that the attack was religiously motivated. It is the second public attack Singh has suffered this year after he was assaulted in Love Punjab Restaurant on his birthday in July.
Singh’s colleagues at Radio Virsa, where he hosts a program dedicated to the Sikh community, said he was attacked as he was returning home this week from that day’s broadcast.
Harnek Singh discusses religious issues, spoke about farmers’ protests too
Balwinder Singh, who is a co-worker of Harnek Singh at Radio Virsa, which discusses religious and cultural issues in the Auckland Sikh community, said that from the wounds he had it can be said that he was attacked by sharp weapons.
“He’s OK, his condition is stable and he’s at Middlemore. We believe so [he was stabbed]. The motivation behind the attack obviously has to do with what he says on the radio, what opinion on different issues and topics which have been discussed on the radio. Mainly on this radio program, a lot of religious issues have been discussed. So let’s just say a lot of traditional myths that people believe in, and we on the radio try to explain to people to look at it in a practical way other than the mythical point of view that most people have,” Balwinder Singh said.
He continued saying that Harnek Singh’s show would obviously upset someone who is religiously fanatic, and someone who looks at the religion in a mythical point of view as a lot of religions do.
Reportedly, Harnek Singh had recently spoken against the farmers protesting against the three laws passed by the Indian government. Singh was constantly speaking on his radio and YouTube channel against the farmers’ protest, which may also have triggered an attack against him. He had recently appealed to the protesting farmers to withdraw the politically-motivated protests in Delhi.
In the last few years, the authorities in NZ had heard eight complaints against Singh for comments he had made in Punjabi language to a caller about the Sikh sect Damdami Taksaal in response to recent violent incidents in India.