Victim Of Red FM Contest Still In Coma

Samaljit Aulakh Had Choked While Eating Gulab Jamuns In Novemeber Last Year

Pawan Aulakh with his dad Samaljit Aulakh in happier times. Samaldeep is still in hospital more than eight months after choking in a gulab jamun eating contest organised by Red FM

Ten-year-old Pawan Aulakh was hoping to go out with his dad to enjoy the summer vacations but instead he is in a hospital room waiting anxiously by the bedside of his father who is still in coma even after nine long months. Pawan had also spent his winter vacations in this hospital room praying for his father’s recovery.

Pawan’s father Samaljit Aulakh had choked while eating gulab jamuns during a Diwali eating contest organised by Red 93.1 FM at Central City Shopping Centre in November last year. Samaljit has still not recovered and doctors are not sure when (if ever) he will recover completely.

“I want my dad to get all right. I want to play with him like I used to,” says Pawan, his voice choking with emotion.

Samal’s wife Kamal is equally sad. “Nobody from Red FM has come to see my husband. It is as if they are not concerned at all,” says Kamal.

“When the gulab jamun contest was going on these very people from Red FM were standing there on the sides and shouting to all the contestants come on eat more, eat more. Now when as a result of all that eating this tragedy has happened they are not concerned at all,” says another relative of Samaljit. Why can’t they organise some sensible contest which will benefit the community, he wondered.

Samal’s wife says there are some signs of recovery as there is a little movement in his fingers and they think he can hear what they speak. But still he’s a long way off from total recovery.

Samal’s family has now initiated legal proceedings against the radio station.

Red FM President Kulvinder Sanghera said, “Their (Samaljit’s) lawyer had contacted our lawyer and our lawyer has responded to them. We are in touch through legal channels but we are not in touch personally. We have also been advised by our lawyers and hospital not to visit Samaljit in hospital.”

This is not the first time that things have not gone according to the script for Red FM. In August 2011, the Surrey’s Women Centre (SWC) had lodged a complaint with CRTC when the radio station aired a call-in show after the July 28 killing of 24-year-old Ravinder Bhangu.

SWC spokesperson Corrine Arthur was quoted as saying by CBC News, “the community was horrified by the talk show including our own staff, that are South Asian and listen to the radio station. I believe there was the intention to be inflammatory.” According to SWC the call-in show questioned the freedom of women in this country.

Also, The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council had found that this radio station had breached Canadian Association of Broadcasters Code of Ethics in its radio show on January 31, 2008 by allowing without host comment caller references to homosexuality as an illness and description of gay or lesbian people as sick. They were deemed to have breached Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics which prohibits abusive or unduly discriminatory comments about individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.