Former BC Premier Ujjal Dosanjh has received bravery award for standing up against terrorism and violence by the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Society (WSCCS).
Lt. Governor Judith Guichan presented him with the civil courage award on the occasion of Raoul Wallenberg Day at a well-attended event held at Wosk Auditorium. Dosanjh is the first recipient of the award established in the name of Raoul Wallenberg and Chiune Sugihara- the two men who risked their lives by saving the lives of Jews during World War II.
According to WSCCS director Deborah Ross-Grayman, Dosanjh was selected for his outspokenness against Sikh extremists during 1980s. Dosanjh was physically assaulted for criticising the violent activities of the supporters of Khalistan, an imaginary Sikh homeland. There were a few prominent moderate Sikhs in attendance. Dosanjh's wife and their grandchildren were also present.
Addressing the gathering, Dosanjh said he will be accepting this award in the name of the victims of recent attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris. The incident which is blamed on the Islamic extremists had left at least 12 people dead.
Earlier, a moment of silence was also observed in memory of the victims of Paris attacks. Citing the Air India bombings that left 331 people dead in 1985 and recent attacks that left two soldiers dead in Ottawa and Quebec, Dosanjh said that Canada has not been a stranger to terrorism. "Terrorism in the name of religion is at war with us. It's a war with reason," he warned. Describing the religious extremists as 'infidels', he added, "They may be loyal to the distorted version of their professed faith. They are certainly not loyal to common humanity."
Dosanjh has been criticising religious fanaticism through his blog these days. He was in the news for condemning the growing activities of Hindu fundamentalists under the Modi government in India.
Picture courtesy: vancouverdesi.com