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Canada serious about India's concern on Sikh separatists

india Updated: Apr 29, 2010 10:18 IST
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Canada has said it takes "very seriously" the concerns raised by India about rising activities of Sikh separatists affiliated to the Khalistan movement in the country.

"The Government of Canada takes Indian concerns regarding extremist activities very seriously. These issues are regularly reviewed by government officials," Andrew MacDougall, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said.

He said: "As you know, in 2003, Canada listed Babbar Khalsa and the International Sikh Youth Federation as terrorist entities".

Describing the Kanishka bombing as a terrible tragedy and the worst terrorist incident in Canadian history, MacDougall said: "It is a reminder to all Canadians that we are not immune to the threat of terrorism".

The Government looks forward to the final report of Justice Major's Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182, he said.

"Its findings and recommendations of Justice John Major Commission should assist our continuing efforts to protect Canadians from terrorist acts," MacDougall added.

Recently, the Indian High Commissioner in Ottawa S M Gawai raised the issue of rising activities of the separatist Khalistan movement in Canada with the Canadian government.

Canada is one of the few countries, according to the Indian government, where pro-Khalistani elements are becoming active once again.

India had also expressed concern at attempts to de-list banned organisations such as the Babbar Khalsa in Canada.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also raised the issue of support by some Canadian Sikhs for militants in Punjab with his counterpart Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently in Washington.

Ujjal Dosanjh, a former Liberal cabinet minister and one-time British Columbia premier, who said Sikh extremism was on the rise in some parts of the country and nothing was being done about it, expressed similar views.

Dosanjh received death threats following his remarks.