DIWALI: Surrey celebration cancelled after man chokes during eating competition

Published: November 10, 2012

Diwali dancers perform in Vancouver in 2010. Diwali celebrations at a Surrey shopping centre were cancelled Saturday afternoon after a man choked during an eating competition. Submitted photo


A crowd watched in horror Saturday afternoon when a man choked during an eating competition at a Diwali celebration and was taken to hospital.

The annual event, which has seen up to 10,000 people attend in past years, is sponsored by local radio station RED 93.1 FM and hosted at Central City Shopping Centre’s outdoor plaza.

“He was eating and he choked,” said RED FM’s general manager Bijoy Samuel. “We cancelled [the rest of the party] and now just trying to proceed.”

The man, believed to be in his mid-30s, was taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital and was reportedly breathing normally last night. No further updates were available by press time.

According to Samuel, the incident happened around 2:40 p.m., shortly after the gulab jamun eating competition began.

Surrey resident Sunny Mangat was in the audience with his 15-year-old son and had witnessed the incident. He said the man seemed to be trying to get something out of his throat and when that appeared to fail, he took a sip of water to try and help with the swallowing.

“He managed to finish … ahead of the others,” Mangat said, noting the competitors were all volunteers picked from the crowd. “While the [MC] was still talking, commending their efforts, this guy just stood up and fell backwards.”

B.C. Ambulance Service confirmed they received a call for a choking victim around 3:05 p.m. Soon after the man was taken to hospital, Mangat said the stage and plaza were cleared and crew members began packing away equipment.

“It was shocking to see,” Mangat said. “To be honest, I’m still a little shaken and so is my son.”

The free family event had been expected to run into the evening and was set to feature a number of performances including one by popular bhangra singer Lehmber Hussainpuri.

Gulab jamun is a popular Indian desert similar to a Timbit, made from a milk-based dough, which is deep-fried and covered in a sweet syrup.



Indian news channel hires country’s first transgender anchor

VANCOUVER DESI A 31-year-old transgender woman in India has become the country’s first-ever transgender person to read the news on live television, according to the…
Continue Reading »


Young Muslims in Britain speak out against ISIS with social media campaign

VANCOUVER DESI Muslims in Britain are speaking out against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with a social media campaign to raise awareness…
Continue Reading »


Deported Saskatoon woman in hiding in Pakistan, friend says

CHARLES HAMILTON and EVAN RADFORD POSTMEDIA NEWS and THE CANADIAN PRESS Jamila Bibi, the refugee claimant deported this week from Saskatoon, is now in hiding in Pakistan,…
Continue Reading »


Maternal health in, climate change out: A look at Canada’s changing UN speeches

By Alexander Panetta THE CANADIAN PRESS UNITED NATIONS — A scan of Canadian speeches at the United Nations General Assembly reveals a shift in priorities…
Continue Reading »


Deported Saskatoon woman in hiding in Pakistan, friend says

CHARLES HAMILTON and EVAN RADFORD POSTMEDIA NEWS and THE CANADIAN PRESS Jamila Bibi, the refugee claimant deported this week from Saskatoon, is now in hiding in Pakistan,…
Continue Reading »


Back-to-school excitement finally comes for a half-million B.C. students

CHERYL CHAN VANCOUVER DESI For Kassidy Ryan, the first day of school couldn’t come soon enough. Kassidy is one of about a half-million B.C. students…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Larissa Cahute

Video: Vancouver Desi reporter gets a ‘desi’ makeover

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi reporter Larissa Cahute gets a taste of the hectic life backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week as she gets done up in…
Continue Reading »


Surrey’s Punjabi radio stations facing CRTC ban

TERESA VERENCA SURREY NOW SURREY — Two radio stations operating out of Surrey could be slapped with mandatory cease-and-desist orders come October. According to the…
Continue Reading »


Rally held in Saskatoon in support of 65-year-old woman deported to Pakistan

THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON — Supporters of a 65-year-old woman who was deported to her native Pakistan earlier this week have held a rally at…
Continue Reading »


Fashion over the years in Bollywood

IMROZ MAUR VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood and Fashion go hand in hand; there is no Bollywood without fashion and there is no fashion without Bollywood. They…
Continue Reading »

Little India

Death of a neighbourhood? Little India’s Punjabi Market struggles to survive

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI When Simran and Hardeep Virk met 20 years ago at Langara College, they’d go to All India Sweets & Restaurant for…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Indian film star Vivek Oberoi walks with his wife Priyanka Alva Oberoi on the green carpet as they arrive for 15th annual International Indian Film Awards Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Why did Vivek Oberoi refuse a role on American series Homeland?

HINDUSTAN TIMES While Bollywood actors often jump at the opportunity to collaborate on international projects, Vivek Oberoi wasn’t quite so fortunate. Although the actor was…
Continue Reading »

Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is one of the members in Sanjay Gupta's upcoming star-studded movie Jazbaa. Aishwarya poses here at the amfAR 21st Annual Cinema Against AIDS during the 67th Cannes Film Festival in southern Franc on May 22, 2014. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Sanjay Gupta to add more stars to upcoming Bollywood film Jazbaa’s cast

IANS Mumbai  – Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta is excited about the way his next project Jazbaa, starring Aishwarya Rai, Irrfan Khan and Anupam Kher, is shaping…
Continue Reading »

Indian Bollywood film actress Priyanka Chopra poses during a promotional event of the Tata Salt 'Maine Desh ka Namak Khaya Hai' campaign, which features the story of boxer Mary Kom, and the promotion of the film 'Mary Kom' in Mumbai on September 10, 2014. AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images

Priyanka Chopra accepts Hrithik Roshan’s dare, performs handstand in heels

IANS Mumbai — Priyanka Chopra accepted and performed a handstand with a push up – a dare thrown at her by Hrithik Roshan. “The only…
Continue Reading »