It was in June last year when Captain Amarinder Singh, as Punjab Congress chief, had accused some Canadian ministers of “Khalistan leanings” for stalling his tour to the country.
Refusing to name the ministers, he had said it is a well-known fact that some ministers in the Justin Trudeau government have World Sikh Organisation (WSO) background.
The opposition to Amarinder’s Canada visit is still a sore point as the CM has chosen Sajjan’s India visit to hit back by accusing him of “Khalistani leanings”.
Asked about the proof on which the CM has based his assertions, his media adviser Raveen Thukral said there is enough information available in the public domain to endorse the CM’s stance.
“The state government is continuously tracking and monitoring the activities of all extremist and pro-extremist forces, including Khalistani forces. The government’s assessment and decisions are based on these intelligence reports, which are confidential and cannot be divulged to the media. These reports, coupled with the deluge of information published on Sajjan from time to time, not just by Indian but also by the Canadian media, provide sufficient ground for endorsing the CM’s stand on the issue,” Thukral told HT.
Among the ammo Amarinder is using to buttress his claims are pictures posted on Facebook by Manvir Singh, a TV reporter of TV84 channel, that they allege “propagates Khalistani ideology”. In one of the pictures posted by him, Manvir is seen with Sajjan at a public gathering.
HINDUS NOT NRIs CONG’s POLITICAL CONSTITUENCY
The overwhelming support for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) among Canadian NRIs, mainly radicals, was seen as a major reason for stalling of Amarinder’s Canada campaign programme. But NRIs could not swing the scales in favour of the AAP in the elections. On the contrary, the Congress romped home riding on support of Hindus wary of AAP’s “pro-radical leanings”. Hindus are its main political constituency now and Amarinder feels no pressure to humour NRIs.
In run up to polls, the NRI support for the AAP had prompted Captain to seek an inquiry into its funding. Captain had claimed he had proof that it was being financed by radicals abroad.
An angry Amarinder had also shot off a letter to Trudeau after he was barred from campaigning in Canada, accusing his government of bias. “The overseas cell of BJP held a two-day convention on June 19, 2016, in Toronto to celebrate two years of the Narendra Modi government, after I was denied permission for my programmes. Before that, AAP leaders have been holding their programmes. It seems these ministers used their influence on the Canadian foreign ministry at the behest of hardline group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) just in my case,” he had said.
The SFJ had also hit back accusing Amarinder of signing the Amritsar declaration that proposed right of self-determination to Punjab.
Amarinder had then denied being a signatory to the declaration saying it was made on the call of Akal Takht as Simranjit Singh Mann had refused to accept everything, including the Indian constitution. “I was a part of an Akali faction and it was one step backward but my stand on Khalistan has been always clear,” Captain had then said.