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August 31, 1999
'Mother Teresa' Or Terrorist?
Arthur J Pais in Vancouver
The relatives of a woman who police in India claim was killed because she was caught in the rivalry between the Khalistan Commando Force and the Babbar Khalsa say she was a Sikh Mother Teresa.
They say 40-year-old Gurbax Kaur moved to Uttar Pradesh five years ago to start an orphanage and school for Sikh children. If she received money from Sikhs in Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia, the relatives said, it was because of her humanitarian work. The orphans too called her Mother Teresa, the relatives, who did not want their names to be quoted, said.
"She is not a terrorist," said a relative. The relative asserted that Gurbax Kaur was apolitical, and she was not pro-Khalistan.
"Anyone going from Canada to India is a terrorist," said a pro-Khalistani activist. "That is what the Indian government says."
They say Gurbax Kaur returned to British Columbia twice a year to raise funds for her orphanage and acknowledge that the Khalsa School in Surrey helped her. She kept in touch with her family in Surrey and nearby Vancouver where her three children live.
But when the family did not hear from her for more than two months, it got in touch with family members in India and was still unable to learn anything. Recently they reported her missing to the Canadian government. Then they heard this week that the police had recovered her body.
Meanwhile, moderate Sikhs like Dave Hayat, son of slain Punjabi publisher Tara Singh Hayat, want to know the precise way the Khalsa School helped her -- and, more importantly, the role of the Khalsa Credit Union. Many moderate Sikhs believe the agency -- which is reportedly being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the alleged connection of some of its leaders with the men reportedly involved in the 1985 bombing of the Air-India Jumbo, Kanishka, that killed 325 people -- is one of the strongest supporters of the Khalistan movement.
The RCMP has reportedly carried out separate investigations into activities conducted by the school and credit union officials.
The Vancouver Sun carried a news report on Sunday saying the Indian police believe Kaur was a link between Sikh militants in India and their financial backers in British Canada.
It quoted the police as saying that she was killed two months ago when she switched allegiance from the KCF to the Babbar Khalsa. They learned about her killing when they raided a terrorist hideout in Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the RCMP in Surrey wants to know more about the documents unearthed by the Indian government. Among other things, the RCMP is investigating the alleged misappropriation of funds at the Khalsa School, and the Satnam Trust and Satnam Education Society connected to the school. The trust helps families of many Sikhs in India and Canada who are either dead or jailed because of their Khalistani activities and calls them martyrs to the Sikh cause.
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