Indo-Canadians protest attacks over stance on India’s farm reforms

Published on Feb 26, 2021 07:41 PM IST

The protesters gathered outside the office of the Federal NDP leader in Burnaby in the province of British Columbia. Singh represents the riding of Burnaby South in the House of Commons.

Canada's New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on February 3. (Reuters file)
Canada's New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on February 3. (Reuters file)
ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Vinod Janardhanan

Several Indo-Canadian community members staged a protest in front of the office of New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh and asked him to act to counter growing attacks on Hindus in Canada by pro-Khalistan elements engaged in opposing farm reform laws passed by India’s parliament.

The protesters gathered outside the office of the NDP leader in Burnaby in the province of British Columbia. Singh represents the riding (constituency) of Burnaby South in Canada’s House of Commons.

Under the banner of Concerned Citizens of Burnaby, BC, they gave a memorandum to Singh’s staff, calling upon him to monitor and analyse hate speech against Hindus across Canadian schools, institutions, workplaces, and social media; address the root causes of “hate against Hindus arising from the Khalistani movement”; engage and support victims of hate speech and mitigate the current situation; mediate and build coalitions between Sikh and Hindu groups and protect and support the Hindus of Canada and stop these hateful attacks against them.

Members of the community in Canada have in recent weeks reported multiple incidents of threats and intimidation of the Hindu community by pro-Khalistan elements.

“Khalistan-supporting organisations are working under the pretext of the farmers’ rights movement in India. The discourse against the Indian government is being weaponised for political gain with incendiary rhetoric that stigmatises and dehumanises Hindus in Canada,” the protesters said in their memorandum to Singh. “Your silence can signal indifference to bigotry and intolerance, even as the situation escalates and vulnerable Hindus become victims to violence.”

Organisers of a recent Tiranga rally in Vancouver had faced threats and even protest by those carrying Khalistan flags.

One of the protestors standing in front Singh’s office said, “We are not against the farmers’ movement, but this movement has now turned into a Khalistani movement, which is targeting Hindu visible minorities and we expect our leaders to protect everyone without any racial discrimination.”

Singh has been among the most vocal Canadian politicians in supporting those protesting the Indian farm laws.

He recently appeared on the talk show A Little Late with Lilly Singh and discussed the issue. On January 29, after the events on Republic Day in New Delhi, Singh tweeted, “I am deeply concerned about the violence against farmers in India. Those calling to harm farmers must be held accountable and the right to peaceful protest must be protected I am calling on (Canadian Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau to condemn the violence, immediately.”

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