Leader of India’s Punjab calls for sanctions against Canada if it does not crack down on Sikh extremists
by Tom Blackwell
‘India had, for too long, been soft towards Canada and needed to crack its whip aggressively, even seek UN sanctions if needed, to end the growing threat once and for all’
Capt. Amarinder Singh has always made it clear he thinks Canada is soft on alleged Sikh extremists in this country.
The head of India’s Punjab state government once alleged the Liberal cabinet harbours four “Khalistani” advocates of an independent Sikh homeland, publicly snubbed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a list of purported Sikh terrorists living here.
But Singh went even further with his critique in an unexpected statement issued this week, accusing the Canadian government of providing “overt and covert” support to the Khalistani movement, and calling on New Delhi to consider sanctions against Canada if it does not take a tougher stance.
The Punjab chief minister urged India’s national government “to mount global pressure on Canada to put an end to the use of its soil to unleash terror against India, particularly the Sikh community being targeted by Khalistani terrorists.”
“India had, for too long, been soft towards Canada and needed to crack its whip aggressively, even seek UN sanctions if needed, to end the growing threat once and for all, the Chief Minister stressed,” said the news release posted on the Punjab government’s website Monday.
The comments add to ongoing tension between the two countries over the Khalistani issue, and the degree to which Canadian politicians support the movement.
It’s unclear what prompted the latest outburst, although it follows a decision by the federal government in April to remove specific references to Sikh extremism from a contentious Public Safety Canada report on terrorism.
Global Affairs Canada, asked about the statement, was unable to respond by deadline.
The Indian government has also voiced concerns over Canadian politicians’ approach to Sikh nationalism, but the Indian High Commission in Ottawa did not reply to a request for comment.
For Sikhs here, Singh’s verbal attack comes “completely out of left field,” said Balpreet Singh, legal counsel for the World Sikh Organization.
The allegations are unfounded — and some of them are “outlandish” — but they will nonetheless harm Canadian members of the faith, he said.
It hurts us here as a community
“What this looks like to us … is foreign interference, a narrative created in India and pushed into Canada about Canadian Sikhs,” said Singh. “It hurts us here as a community. It’s something that affects our reputation, and affects folks here on the ground.”Canadian conservatives, Canadian news, Canadian politics, Conservative Canadians, conservatives, Leader of India's Punjab calls for sanctions against Canada if it does not crack down on Sikh extremists, pipelines, right for Canada
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