Canadian ministers condemn SFJ video asking Hindus of Indian origin to leave nation

Sep 22, 2023 10:31 AM IST

Members of Hindu communities have written to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc seeking security for the country’s Hindu community amid threats from Khalistani elements

Ministers in the Canadian cabinet on Friday condemned the video released by the pro-Khalistan organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) threatening Hindus of Indian origin asking them to leave Canada.

Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc (R) speaks to media persons. (AP Photo)
Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc (R) speaks to media persons. (AP Photo)

This development comes two days after the video was released by the secessionist group.

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Canada’s public safety minister Dominic LeBlanc said all Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities.

“All Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities. The circulation of an online hate video targeting Hindu Canadians runs contrary to the values we hold dear as Canadians. There is no place for acts of aggression, hate, intimidation or incitement of fear”, he posted on his official X (formerly Twitter) account.

Also Read: Nijjar killing: Sikhs for Justice asks Hindus of Indian origin to leave Canada

Describing the video as “offensive and hateful”, his department also put out a similar statement.

Emergency preparedness minister Harjit Sajjan also expressed sentiments akin to those of LeBlanc.

“To Hindu Canadians and Indians from all backgrounds: Anyone who says you do not deserve to be safe & welcomed in your home does not embody the values of freedom and kindness we hold dear as Canadians. Do not let others delegitimize or question your place and love for Canada”, he posted on his official X account.

However, the organisation Canadian Hindus for Harmony said they wanted strict against those behind the video calling upon the Canadian government to act upon it promptly.

“Why aren’t you charging the perpetrator under hate crime?”, the group asked.

SFJ’s legal counsel Gurpatwant Pannun in a video, which has gone viral, had said, “Indo-Hindu leave Canada; go to India. You not only support India, but you are also supporting the suppression of speech and expression of pro-Khalistan Sikhs” adding they were also promoting violence by celebrating Nijjar’s assassination.

He was referring to the killing SFJ’s principal figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18.

Pannun has been designated as a terrorist in India.

Another Hindu organisation named Canadian Organisation For Hindu Heritage Education also called upon Canadians to sign an e-petition before the House of Commons to recognise Hinduphobia in the glossary of terms in the Human Rights Code to describe “anti-Hindu” prejudice and discrimination.

The petition, e-4507, has so far gathered around 12,500 signatures whereas the threshold to have it referred to the government is only 500.

Ever since the video went viral, the signatures rose from 9000 to the current number of over 12,500 in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the organisation Hindu Community of Canada called upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to condemn the video.

“We expect the PM to not only react but also help drive some concrete action. As he has mentioned, this is a country of rule of law”, organisation member Manish Puri said.

He also pointed out that at least a dozen temples have been desecrated by pro-Khalistan elements since last summer but Canadian law enforcement agencies are yet to make any arrest in this regard.

Puri also said they are launching a Hinduphobia incident reporting helpline.

“We encourage them to first report to local law enforcement agencies, but we understand there is a lot of anxiety and fear, so they are not coming forward if they are facing such hateful incidents,” he said.

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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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