Punjabi MPs under fire as motion for Komagata Maru apology defeated | india | Hindustan Times
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Punjabi MPs under fire as motion for Komagata Maru apology defeated

india Updated: May 30, 2012 18:43 IST
Gurinder Gill

Five Indo-Canadian Conservative Members of Parliament are facing the wrath of Sikh leaders after voting against the NDP motion that sought official apology in the House of Commons for Komagata Maru incident. NDP MP Jasbir Sandhu was behind the motion and launching a national petition campaign to bring justice to one of the darkest events in Canada's history.

Sandhu put forward a motion to demand that Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially apologise in the House of Commons to the South Asian community for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident as it was felt that an unofficial apology was not enough. Liberal leader Bob Rae also joined in the NDP in calling for an official apology.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's failed attempt to make an informal apology in 2008 at an outdoor festival in Surrey was widely regarded as rude and insincere by the community.

The recent apology motion received 118 votes in favour and 147 against it. World Sikh Organisation and Ontario Gurdwara Council leaders have ridiculed Indo-Canadian MPs for voting against the apology motion.

Meanwhile, the Komagata Maru Heritage Foundation and descendants of Komagata Maru Society members held a remembrance day on the 98th anniversary of the arrival of the Japanese ship Komagata Maru to Vancouver.

Indo-Canadian trucker sacrifices life to save colleague
Abbotsford-based Indo-Canadian trucker Baldev Grewal is being hailed as a hero for sacrificing his own life for saving his colleague. He pushed a co-worker Balwinder Sidhu from the path of danger in Calgary recently and sacrificed his own life.

Baldev Grewal, a father of two children, was standing with Balwinder Sidhu on a median in Calgary when he saw a vehicle veering off the road towards them.

Within a few seconds, he shoved Sidhu from harm's way but was himself killed at the scene of the crash. His push helped Sidhu survive unscathed.

After striking Grewal, the SUV continued on into oncoming traffic, where it hit another vehicle before finally coming to a stop.

Grewal's employers and community are now doing everything they can to support Grewal's wife and children, including one daughter at university and a younger son, and have set up a trust fund in his name.

"For him to sacrifice himself and save another person, this act pretty much sums him up as a person," said his nephew Narinder Dhaliwal, 24, who added his uncle was the type to bring home an injured animal to nurture.

Five Indo-Canadians among top 25 Canadian immigrants
Five Indo-Canadians are among top 25 Canadian immigrants. Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce president Satish Thakkar, wrestling great and philanthropist Tiger Jeet Singh, leading BC volunteers Kehar Singh Aujla and Suresh Kurl, and New Brunswick-based multicultural community leader Madhu Verma were among those named as the Top 25 immigrants of 2012.

This National People's Choice award celebrates the untold and inspiring stories and achievements of newcomers to Canada.

The awards are presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and sponsored by the Royal Bank. More than 550 nominations were received and 75 finalists shortlisted by a panel of judges comprised of previous winners. More than 28,000 Canadians then voted online for their top choices.

Turban ban in Montreal soccer fields upset Sikhs
Sikhs residing in Montreal city in Quebec province are upset after a number of boys in community of LaSalle have been told they can no longer play soccer because they wear religious headgears.

One of these Sikh boys, Aneel Samra, 17, told media persons that he has been playing soccer for about 10 years in LaSalle and has always worn his turban. He never had a problem prior to this year. The World Sikh Organisation of Canada has written to the Lac St. Louis Regional Soccer Association asking it to reverse its decision to enforce a ban on the turban and other religious headgear."

Turbans are worn and accepted in soccer leagues across Canada and it is not an issue" said Mukhbir Singh, WSO's Quebec vice-president. No other Canadian soccer league excludes players who wear articles of faith.

The Alberta province soccer association passed a resolution in 2007 allowing players to wear hijabs while playing. Players in Ontario province also are allowed to wear the head covering.

Toronto witnessed maiden PIFF
Toronto witnessed the maiden Piff-Rogers Punjabi International Film Festival, which commenced on May 18 in Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto.

The first-ever Punjabi film festival, held at various locations for four days, aimed to provide audiences with an opportunity to heighten awareness of Punjab and Punjabi diaspora around the world.

The extravaganza presented among the best feature films, documentaries and short films from around the world on themes of Punjabi culture and identity.

The festival also included seminars and panel discussions, after parties and a closing event that included a concert.
Concerned Canadians also say no to vulgar singing

Launching a campaign against the ''vulgar and sleazy'' songs churned out by a number of Punjabi singers, a large group of concerned community members and some social activists, staged a massive protest against vulgar singing outside Powerade centre in Brampton.

Terming that the songs by singers like Honey Singh and Diljit Singh are a ''denigration of womanhood'', the protesters demanded boycott of these singers during their Canada visit. The protesters, holding placards against vulgar singers, also resorted to sloganeering against some organisers for inviting such singers at their women-oriented functions.

A protester Kuldeep Singh said this trend need to be arrested to save the society from disintegrating.

Ripudaman Singh Malik wants $ 9 million from BC govt

Ripdaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the Air India bombing case, now wants $9.2-million in legal costs, but a Crown lawyer argues that Malik should be denied it because he hasn't proved that prosecutors acted maliciously in proceeding with the trial.

Malik has taken his demand for compensation to court, saying he spent four years in custody before he was acquitted in 2005 and that the media continued to tarnish his image even after that. Malik told a British Columbia court that several millions of that amount was loaned by the BC government to him.

After Malik was acquitted in 2005, he argued that he shouldn't have to pay the money back. But after losing a series of rulings from BC Supreme Court up to the Supreme Court of Canada, he caved in and repaid the cash earlier this year. His lawyer now argues that the Crown never should have laid charges against him and that he suffered unfair hardship while in custody for four-and-a half years.