Members of the Indo-Canadian community in the Metro Vancouver area staged a pro-India car rally. Participants waved India flags at the consulate. (Supplied photo)
Members of the Indo-Canadian community in the Metro Vancouver area staged a pro-India car rally. Participants waved India flags at the consulate. (Supplied photo)

Indo-Canadian groups protest over alleged Khalistani role in farmers’ stir

More than 350 vehicles participated in a ‘tiranga rally’ in Metro Vancouver, including members from various Indian-Canadian groups in the region
By Anirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Vinod Janardhanan
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2021 01:50 PM IST

Indo-Canadian organisations are stepping up efforts to counter the narrative related to the ongoing farmers’ protests in India, as they believe the agenda has largely been hijacked by pro-Khalistan elements in Canada.

More than 350 vehicles participated in a “tiranga rally” in Metro Vancouver, including members from various Indo-Canadian groups in the region.

The participants waved India flags in front of the Indian consulate in Vancouver, a symbolic gesture as this was the scene of a blockade carried out by protesters on January 26, 2021.

Khalistan flags had been brandished during the course of the Republic Day protest, and among its organisers was Mo Dhaliwal, founder of Poetic Justice Foundation, which was also behind the toolkit for organising criticism of the Indian government with regard to the farmers’ agitation.

Among those who organised Saturday’s pro-India rally was a resident of the Delta region of British Columbia. “There was so much anger within the community here over what happened in New Delhi on Republic Day that we had to do something,” said the person who chose not to be identified. The person added that the community respected the views of protesting farmers, but their cause had been taken over by separatist elements in Canada and elsewhere.

Referring to the protests in Canada, the person said, “Everyday, it’s happening here. This is very disturbing.”

The person added that the rally started from Surrey and the cavalcade of cars travelled to Vancouver. HT is withholding some of the names at the request of the participants.

According to a video, during the course of a speech delivered in front of the consulate on January 26, Dhaliwal had said, “You have to understand the feeling and the emotion that the Khalistan movement is bringing to this. I want people to hear this. The reason why the Khalistani people are so passionate about this is that 40-50 years later, we’re seeing the truth that they predicted in the 1970s. In the 1970s, they wanted an independent land, so that we wouldn’t have to live through this movement.”

The authenticity of the video has yet to be verified.

Meanwhile, Indo-Canadian groups continued to reach out to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to underscore the importance of relations with India, which were undermined by his remarks on the farmers’ protests.

A letter sent by the Ottawa-based Overseas Friends of India Canada said, “It is no surprise that a single comment at this moment has put us on the back foot with regard to our relations with India. It is imperative for Canada to maintain a just stance especially when it comes to a close ally like India.”

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