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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Polticians try to revive fading memories of Khalistan issue

Gurinder Gill , Hindustan Times  Toronto, September 20, 2012
First Published: 10:48 IST(20/9/2012) | Last Updated: 14:52 IST(20/9/2012)

Politics is again being played over the sensitive issue of Khalistan and the 'dead issue of Khalistan' is being raked up in Canada.

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Vikram Bajwa, president of Indian Overseas Congress, started the controversy making unsubstantiated claims that conservative MP Nina Grewal and former liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal have raised funds for the Khalistan militant campaign, a claim that was rubbished by both of them.

Vikram Bajwa, also called upon Revenue Canada to go after Sikh temples that he claims are supporting the Khalistan movement. He cited repeated examples of the Dashmesh Darbar gurdwara in Surrey flying pro-Khalistan banners and displaying pro-Khalistan seals. He also said he would be meeting Akal Takht head priest Joginder Singh to make an appeal to him to issue a “hukamnaama” (edict) banning use of Khalistan seals in Sikh shrines.

Meanwhile, responding to mediapersons, both Nina Grewal and Sukh Dhaliwal refuted the claims made by Bajwa and said he had made slanderous, false allegations that have not a shred of truth to them. Nina Grewal said she had never visited Pakistan in my life, though Bajwa accused me of collecting donation from there for Khalistan.

Meanwhile, Canadian Sikh group groups term it as a move by Congress party to put pressure on Canadian external affairs minister John Baird to go strict against some Sikh groups, who are working to get a genocide status for 1984 incident.

Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) has also sought expulsion of Canadian external affairs minister John Baird for his commitment with Indian counterpart SM Krishna to keep under check the activities of Canadian Sikhs, who were supporting the cause of a separate Sikh state within India.

SFJ has sought expulsion of Baird from ministerial berth for making an anti-Canadian law commitment with Indian external affairs minister.

World Sikh Organisation (WSO) also reacted to the issue and in a letter to minister Baird, WSO president Prem Singh Vinning said, “As a national human rights organisation that has been deeply engaged with the Canadian Sikh community for nearly three decades, we have yet to see any signs or evidence of this alleged rise in extremism.

The World Sikh Organisation of Canada has repeatedly called for proof of such claims, but none has been forthcoming. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that there is any threat of violence or radical extremism in the Sikh community today.”

"Despite the Canadian Sikh community being more tightly woven into the Canadian fabric than ever, the continued baseless allegations of “rising Sikh extremism” have proven extremely damaging and we fear that this hostility could increase, after the rhetoric about Sikh extremism is endorsed by our own government,” Vinning added.

NDP MLA from Malton, Jagmeet Singh also reacted to John Baird's comments and has written a letter to him.

In the letter, Jagmeet told Baird that your comments would create a negative backlash against the Sikh community in the broader Canadian community and such comments had the capability to incite hatred against the Sikh community and create rifts between Sikhs and other Canadians.

On behalf of the Sikh Community, Jagmeet Singh also sought an apology from Baird for allegedly using the term extremist and supporting suggestions that make unfounded allegations of an increase in extremism.

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