Indo-Canadian groups seek action against attacks on them over farm law support

Published on Feb 14, 2021 11:28 AM IST

Sent by the umbrella organisation, National Alliance of Indo-Canadians, the letter was signed by representatives of 28 community bodies.

A file picture of Indian diaspora holding a 'Tiranga rally' against Republic Day violence, in Vancouver. (ANI file)
A file picture of Indian diaspora holding a 'Tiranga rally' against Republic Day violence, in Vancouver. (ANI file)
ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Vinod Janardhanan

More than two dozen Indo-Canadian organisations have asked the Canadian minister of public safety to take action against “coordinated attacks” on the community for being perceived as pro-India or critical of the protests against India’s new farm laws.

The letter was sent on Saturday to Bill Blair, the minister for public safety and emergency preparedness. It said it appeared that “separatist elements seeking to create ‘Khalistan’ are deeply embedded and engaged in the anti-legislation agitations in Canada and the attacks on Indo-Canadians has taken a sectarian turn.” Sent by the umbrella organisation, National Alliance of Indo-Canadians, the letter was signed by representatives of 28 community bodies.

The letter added, “This is deeply troubling as Canada’s worst incident of terrorism, bombing of Air India flight 182, the Kanishka, also emerged from the Khalistan movement in the country. Even more problematic is how elements supporting separatism are indulging in Hinduphobia under the guise of protesting the Indian laws.”

The bombing of the Kanishka in 1985 by Khalistani terrorists claimed 329 lives.

The signatories sought “early and effective action” from Public Safety Canada and its departments, “reassure Hindu-Canadians, who are fearful of their future due to this recent phenomenon. We do not want a repeat of the Kanishka tragedy.”

As reported by the Hindustan Times earlier, incidents of threats, including those of sexual violence against female members of families, have occurred in several parts of Canada including the Greater Toronto Area, Metro Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Multiple police complaints have been filed by victims of these attacks.

In one glaring instance, volunteers who helped organise a ‘Tiranga Rally’ in Vancouver earlier this month faced not just threatening calls but had protestors turning up outside their office.

Nearly 350 cars participated in the rally from Surrey, a suburban city, to Vancouver, with several participants waving Indian national flags in front of the building housing the Indian Consulate.

One of the volunteers was mentioned in a Hindustan Times report on the event and days later she, her husband and the immigration business they operate in Surrey, were targeted.

The volunteer, who has requested that her name be withheld because of concerns over safety, said that threatening calls, of an abusive nature and at times, communal invective, commenced hours after the rally was held. “I’m scared,” she said, of these developments.

Anti-India protestors have gathered in the parking lot outside the strip mall where the business of the couple is located. Khalistan flags were also visible in a video of the protest. They also said they have been cyberbullied and filed a complaint with the local Delta Police Department.

The intimidation of the couple is the latest episode in a series of recent incidents in Canada, which includes threatening calls, visits to residences and businesses of those seen to be pro-India and critical of the ongoing agitation against the farm laws.

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