Radio host alleges Calgary-Falconridge nomination candidate’s supporters physically attacked him
Published Monday, August 27, 2018 3:34PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 28, 2018 2:22PM MDT
The host of a local political radio program says a recent encounter with supporters of a candidate seeking the UCP nomination in Calgary-Falconridge severely impacted his family, his health and his emotional well-being.
Kumar Sharma, the host of a weekly show on Fairchild Radio Calgary, says a focus of his reporting has been the hotly contested UCP nomination in the northeast riding.
Sharma says he received a Facebook post on Saturday, August 18 that was critical of Hardyal Singh 'Happy' Mann, one of the candidates. and the radio host elected to share the post on social media. The following day, Sharma attended an open-air concert in the northeast community of Skyview when he says he was confronted by two men who he recognized as supporters Happy Mann.
“They threatened me with dire consequences referring to that Facebook post,” said Sharma. “The situation became so tense that I feared for my safety. Because of that, I deleted my shared Facebook post right on the spot.”
Sharma says he was informed during the concert that the two men had been making calls to friends and the radio host decided to leave the event.
“I, along with three other friends, decided to leave the concert and proceeded to my vehicle. Just a few feet away from reaching my vehicle, I was viciously attacked from behind by a group of men. From the evidence that is already with police, there were at least seven men who attacked me all at once. I did not recognize any of the individuals.”
A friend of Sharma’s called 911 and the radio host received medical treatment at the scene for his undisclosed injuries. “This has had a very severe impact on my health, on my emotional well-being and on my family. I have been on bedrest for the last whole week. I’m trying to come to the grips to what has happened to me.”
Deepak Obhrai, Member of Parliament for Calgary-Forest Lawn, attended the concert with Sharma and condemns the attack on a member of the media who is also his friend. Obhrai pointed a finger stateside for the creation of an adversarial approach to news agencies.
“When influential people like the president of the USA, Donald Trump, goes publically and states journalists are enemies of the people, this creates a very poisonous atmosphere towards journalists,” said “Any violence against anyone is unacceptable. We must also speak up when media journalists are attacked because of their political views. This is not only an attack on our freedom of speech but towards our main democratic principle.”
Calgary Police Service officials confirm officers were called to the scene on Sunday, August 19 and an investigation into the matter is underway. No charges have been laid in connection with the parking lot incident at this time.
Late Monday afternoon, Happy Mann issued the following statement regarding Sharma's allegations.
"First of all, I strongly condemn any violence against any one [sic]," said Mann in the statement to CTV Calgary. "I sympathize with Mr. Sharma and condemn the violent incident that Mr. Sharma had to endure about a week ago. I wish Mr. Sharma full and fast recover [sic], howver, I am very shocked along with my family and friends. Just because we have political differences and he is helping my opponent, does not mean that he should resort to falsely accusing me of this incident."
"If anyone, who is known to me from the community, chooses to harm Mr. Sharma in any way, does not mean that I have somehow encouraged him to take that action. Every adult individual is responsible for their actions and Mr. Sharma should have done proper investigation prior to making false accusations against me."
In a statement, officials with the United Conservative Party said they are aware of the allegations aginst 'an aspiring nomination contestant' who has 'not yet been approved by the Party to run'. Party officials say 'the UCP strongly condemns these violent acts and wish Mr. Sharma a full and speedy recovery'.
Mann says Sharma has made false allegations against political adversaries in the past and he feels Sharma and Obhrai were in a rush to defame him prior to his attempt to run for the UCP nomination.
"i understand that there is an active Police investigation and after this investigation is complete, I intend on starting a law suit [sic] against Mr. Sharma and Mr. Oberoi [sic] for defaming me and tarnishing my reputation in front of the community."
Mann says he will fully cooperate with the CPS investigation into the incident.