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Rediff.com  » News » Indian-Americans demand security for Hindus in Canada

Indian-Americans demand security for Hindus in Canada

By Lalit K Jha
September 29, 2023 11:43 IST
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A group of eminent Indian-Americans has condemned the brazen hateful comments and a hostile environment against Hindus in Canada and asked Ottawa not to mix freedom of expression with freedom for terror and endorse hate crimes by being silent on the issue.

IMAGE: Activists from the United Hindu Front shout slogans during a protest against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New Delhi, on September 24, 2023. Photograph: Altaf Hussain/Reuters

The demand by Indian-Americans came after an offensive video from a pro-Khalistan group threatening Hindus in Canada to leave the country went viral.

"It is concerning to see Khalistani terrorists repeatedly threaten Hindu Canadians by desecrating and scarring Hindu sacred spaces on Canadian soil. Silence in the face of such brazen Hinduphobia -- or worse, the justification that this is an acceptable form of political expression -- is tantamount to the endorsement of hate crimes," said Professor Indu Vishwanathan, co-founder and co-director of the Understanding Hinduphobia at the Hindu University of America.

 

"The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should not mix freedom of expression with freedom for terror. He should instead stop radicalisation, and drug gangs and diplomatically handle international situations," Khanderao Kand, from the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS), said in a media statement.

The Khalistani video surfaced days after Trudeau's allegations on September 18 of the 'potential' involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, on Canadian soil on June 18 in British Columbia.

India rejected Trudeau's allegations as 'absurd' and 'motivated'.

Though the Canadian government has said that acts of aggression, hate, intimidation or incitement of fear have no place in Canada, there was no action against anyone in connection with the video.

The chair of government affairs of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Dr Sampath Shivangi appealed to US President Joe Biden and the US Congress to intervene and send a message to Canada to protect Canadian Indians, Hindus and thousands of Indian students from the threats.

On concerns of spilling this hatred over to the US, Chicago-based prominent Indian American leader Bharat Barai said, "I doubt it will spill over. We should keep calm but vigilant. Khalistanis represent a very tiny misled minority, instigated by the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking and other violent criminal activities."

Chief editor of Khalsa Today Sukhi Chahal separated the hateful radicals from Sikhism and said: "As a Sikh, I firmly believe in the teachings of our Gurus, which emphasise the unity of all humanity."

"Statements like the one from Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the chief of the banned outfit Sikhs for Justice, don't represent true Sikh values. Let's stand together for harmony and respect among all communities," he said.

On the recent threats to Hindus and Indians, Sri Iyer, editor of the PGurus portal, a US-based media company said: "There is a thin line between freedom of speech and hate speech and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun crossed it when he threatened Hindu Canadians."

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Lalit K Jha
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