SFJ threatens Canadian PM Trudeau’s Liberal Party of political consequences

Published on Mar 29, 2019 02:18 PM IST

The pro-Khalistan activist group Sikhs For Justice’s letter is in response to Canadian PM’s refusal to internvene in the removal of a reference to Sikh (Khalistani) terrorism in a public report released late last year.

The responseof PMO indicated that Trudeau does not wish to influence the decision on whether or not to expunge the reference that has proved controversial within a section of the community in Canada.(AFP File Photo)
The responseof PMO indicated that Trudeau does not wish to influence the decision on whether or not to expunge the reference that has proved controversial within a section of the community in Canada.(AFP File Photo)
Hindustan Times, Toronto | By, Toronto

Even as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has refused to intervene in the removal of a reference to Sikh (Khalistani) terrorism in a public report released late last year, the pro-Khalistan activist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has threatened political consequences for the ruling Liberal Party if that section is not deleted.

While SFJ’s legal adviser Gurpatwant Pannun sent a letter in this regard to the Prime Minister’s Office, the response indicated that Trudeau does not wish to influence the decision on whether or not to expunge the reference that has proved controversial within a section of the community in Canada.

In its answer to Pannun, the PMO said, “While the Prime Minister appreciates being made aware of your concerns, he will leave the matter to be considered by Minister Goodale.” That referred to Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness Ralph Goodale who had released the ‘2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada’ in December last year.

While groups like SFJ have demanded removal of the entire reference, sources have told the Hindustan Times that Goodale has offered to remove only the Sikh reference while retaining that to Khalistani extremism.

This stand has riled the SFJ and it has warned the Trudeau government of a political fallout if the entire section is not removed. “They will face the outcome in the elections. We will take this matter to the grassroots and build up public support in the next three months,” Pannun told the Hindustan Times.

Federal elections in Canada are due in October and groups like SFJ want to make the reference a political issue prior to the polls, if their demand for deletion and a formal retraction are not met.The SFJ openly supports the secessionist Khalistan movement and is the prime mover behind the 2020 Referendum campaign for a separate nation carved out of India. “Labelling ‘Khalistanis’ as extremists and identifying them as a significant national security threat is deeply misleading and unfair to Canadian Sikhs,” Pannun said.

In the letter to Trudeau, and a similar missive to Goodale, the group made its concerns clear. And now it is launching a campaign to apply more pressure on the Trudeau government, while sending similar letters to Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh.

It is also sending the letters to all members of the Public Safety Committee of Canada’s Parliament, while it is asking supporters to fill in a form online that will generate a protest email to their respective MP.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    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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