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Canada warns Sikh radicals against violence

india Updated: Apr 27, 2010 08:49 IST

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In a stern warning to Sikh radicals in Toronto, the Canadian government said on Monday that "threats of violence" by extremists would not be tolerated.

The warning comes after last week's threats in Vancouver by hardliner Sikhs to Indo-Canadian leader and former Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Deepak Obhrai, Indian-origin parliamentary secretary, said his government "strongly condemns the recent threats of violence made by extremists within the Canadian Sikh community. This is unacceptable.''

The Sikh hardliners had warned Dosanjh against attending a Vaisakhi parade in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey last week. The threat led to outrage among Indo-Canadians and condemnation by Canadian leaders and the media.

A moderate Sikh who became premier of Canada's British Columbia province in 2000,Dosanjh has been a staunch opponent of radical Sikhs in Canada since the 1980s when the pro-Khalistan movement was at its peak in India and Canada.

Obhrai, who is deputy to the Canadian foreign minister, said, "The Government of Canada and Canadians stand strongly behind efforts to strengthen our relationship (with India) and in no way will accept, support or encourage any efforts that undermine a strong, united and multicultural India.''

The four-time MP said, "Canada-India ties continue to strengthen following the very successful visit to India by a strong delegation led by Prime Minister Harper last November.

"Canada is home to a large Indo Canadian community. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and Jains, all contribute immensely to further this relationship.

"India is the world's largest multicultural democracy. It also has a well-established legal process. India today is an example of the fruits that cooperation between communities bring.''

This is the first statement by the Canadian government after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raised the issue of rising activities of Khalistani elements in Canada with his counterpart Stephen Harper in Washington recently.