February 27, 2024

Is Trudeau riding a tiger?

The world expects Canada to be serious about curbing terror and terrorist activities viciously propagated among some of its minorities.
Keywords: Trudeau, Canada, Diplomatic, Extremist, Allegation, Diaspora, Sikhs, Democracy
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Weeks before Canada made an explosive allegation implicating Indian officials in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canadian officials sought public condemnation of the murder from their allies, including the United States, but were met with reluctance, The Washington Post reported. 

The Canadian government had also approached the British government with the same request. Its purpose was to create suspicions of  an external hand behind the murder of the Khalistan leader in Canada. It was also meant to bestir the Sikh diaspora in the US and UK where there is a large and influential Diaspora of Indian Sikhs. 

Of late, India–US relations have grown rapidly. This is despite the displeasure expressed in some quarters in the US and Europe that India did not go by their wishes of joining the condemnation spree against Russia on the Ukrainian issue. There is a clique in the US and in some European countries with links to known anti-India elements. These elements are unhappy with the growing India-US relationship and would like to wreck it anyway they can.

Both President Biden of the US and Prime Minister Modi of India will be facing general elections early 2024. Both have detractors.

Anti-Modi elements in India have seldom concealed their hatred, contempt and animosity for him. The nascent I.N.D.I.A coalition has stated that its primary objective in aligning nearly two dozen small or large political formations is to oust Modi in the 2024 parliamentary elections.

Trudeau took no action on India’s complaint that Sikh extremists in Canada are deeply involved in maligning and harming India because they pursue the project of creating Khalistan, which would break a state away from the Indian Union. Interestingly, the only other country in the world that lends overt and covert support to the Khalistan movement is Pakistan. 

More than 7.5 lakh Sikhs of Indian origin have Canadian citizenship and live in different parts of the country. It is a sizable population and has substantial weight in the Canadian political system.

The Sikhs are hardworking people and readily embrace modernity. They are proud to earn their living and not to depend on others. Socially, they form a rather well-knit community. They have made Punjab the granary of India. Their Diasporas in certain foreign countries have a major role in the transport industry and are frontline activists in the truck drivers community of the US.

The vote-bank syndrome – a distortion of democracy – of which Trudeau has become a victim, has emerged as a challenge to the traditional values of parliamentary democracy which is not supposed to be captive to organised minority groups.

India complains that, as a democracy and also as a signatory to several resolutions adopted by various organs of the UN, Canada should uphold  stout anti-terrorist laws. Pro-Khalistan Sikhs have converted Canada into their main overseas platform for waging a propaganda war and taking violent action against India and Indians in Canada. 

Trudeau claims that a Canadian citizen has been murdered by unknown gunmen and that he is bound to make enquiry into the case, but he does not mention that there is an Interpol letter against Najjar as a suspected terrorist and that India has designated him as a wanted terrorist. He does not say that there are at least nine Khalistani terrorists openly operating in Canada.

The Canadian government also knows that many of these Khalistan groups are involved in drug trafficking, not only in Canada but across the US as well. 

The world expects Canada to be serious about curbing terror and terrorist activities viciously propagated among some of its minorities. Even Saudi Arabia has imposed restrictions on religious seminaries that were engaged in teaching radical interpretations Islamic sharia. Some Sikhs are using their religious platforms to achieve political goals through violent militancy.

The tendency to mix religion with politics and terrorism has been noticed for quite some time in different parts of the world. India has warned on many political and human rights forums that terrorism is a threat to states and civilisations.

Trudeau needs votes to remain in power. He relies heavily on the Sikh Diaspora. But the Sikhs have laid down as a condition for their support the freedom to speak and act against India. The Head of the government in any state is expected to show due respect to any request made to him by any other government. India has reasons and proof that the Khalistan movement run from Canada by some designated terrorists and murderers holding Canadian citizenship is a serious problem that the Canadian government must address.

Supporting terror and terrorists is a violation of the UN resolutions and resolutions passed by several international organisations. It breaches the Geneva Convention and goes against international law. A democratic government is supposed to give the highest priority to human rights.

A national leader is supposed to observe national as well as international laws. The case of Canada is that the vote bank is leading the leader. The prime minister of a democratic country who does not raise an eyebrow when Canadian citizens of a specific ethnic descent openly threaten the country of their origin and hold rallies against the leaders of their parent country – with which Canada has normal relations –  cannot be considered a democrat abiding the rule of law. 

Criminal designs of some of the Sikhs of Indian origin settled in Canada are well known but they cannot go unchecked. Trudeau has announced in the parliament of Canada that the finger of suspicion points towards Indian authorities for Nijjar’s killing. The world will not accept vague and unproven statements like that. This allegation is only intended to give indirect support to the handful of terrorists who have taken the Canadian Prime Minister hostage. The inefficiency of the investigating machinery of Canada was proven when it failed to identify the bomber of an Indian airliner that blew off the host of Scotland, killing more than 300 innocent passengers. India has the right to approach the World Court and demand the identification of the culprits for that aeroplane’s destruction. The expulsion of an Indian diplomat from Canada was a demand of the extremist Sikh group of Canada and now, a few days after the G20 summit concluded in New Delhi, Trudeau has raked up the issue. 

Where the policy of patronising terrorists for the sake of winning their votes will take Canada at the end of the day is a question which is best answered by Pakistan. It will be a sad day when a democratic government rushes into the very same pit into which Pakistan has fallen. Trudeau is riding a tiger and the likely consequences of his electoral tactics should give all a cause to pause.

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K N Pandita

K N Pandita has a PhD in Iranian Studies from the University of Teheran. He is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.

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