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Canada drops reference to Sikh extremism, Punjab CM protests

Source: PTI
April 14, 2019 21:27 IST
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The Canadian government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has removed a reference to Sikh extremism from its 2018 report on terrorism which had earlier mentioned it as one of the top five terrorist threats to the country.

The updated version of the '2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada' was released on Friday, Toronto-based CBC news quoted The Canadian Press news agency as saying.

The language in the report was changed to remove any mention of religion, instead discussing the threat posed by "extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India", it reported.

The 2018 report on terrorism, first released in December last year, drew the ire of the Sikh community at the time of its release as it was the first time when it listed Sikh extremism as one of the top five extremist threats in Canada, the CBC news said.


Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale had said that he would at least ask for a review of the language the report used, the report said.

He said entire religions should never be equated with terrorism, it said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Trudeau praised the minority Sikh community as he visited a gurdwara on the occasion of Vaisakhi.

"Vaisakhi is a time to focus on what matters – family, friends, and coming together as neighbours & fellow Canadians – and an opportunity to recognize the remarkable contributions Sikh Canadians have made to our country. What a celebration in Vancouver today!," he said in a tweet.

The dedication to helping others at the heart of the Sikh faith is also "fundamental to who we are as a country", he said at one of the largest Sikh temples in the country, Vancouver's Ross Street Gurdwara.

He, along with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, also took part in a massive parade to mark the Sikh holy day of Vaisakhi.

Trudeau praised the Sikh community for its values of "equality and social justice".

There are roughly half-a-million Canadians who identify themselves as Sikh, most of them in the Greater Toronto Area and suburban Vancouver. PTI

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday protested the Canadian government's decision, saying it "succumbed to domestic political pressure".

"The move is a threat to Indian and global security," he said.

Amarinder said the "knee-jerk decision" by the ruling Canadian Liberal Party was aimed at protecting its political interests in an election year. It could have serious consequences for the Indo-Canadian relations in the long run, Singh said.

"(Canadian Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau is playing with fire with his decision to assuage inflamed domestic passions through this ill-considered move," he claimed.

The world cannot afford to fan extremism in any form, which is what the Trudeau government is effectively doing with such ill-thought moves, he added.

He pointed out that he himself had given proof to the Canadian Prime Minister during his India visit last year, of his country's soil being used to spread the separatist Khalistani ideology against a friendly country.

Trudeau had been informed of Khalistani activists being involved in financing terror activities in India from Canada, said the Chief Minister in a statement.

Singh had handed over to the Canadian Prime Minister a list of nine Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in promoting radicalism in Punjab, which has the highest number of Sikhs in India.

The chief minister dubbed the "erasure of the various references to Khalistan and Khalistani organisations" from the latest threat report "as an unpardonable act in the eyes of the peace-loving global community."

"It is obvious that Trudeau had played safe in view of the upcoming elections in Canada, giving in to pressure within his country. In the process, he has quite blatantly ignored the adverse impact this could have not only on Canada's relations with India but also on geopolitical stability," he added.

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