The Hindu – India opposes ‘genocide’ charge

Jaitley tells Canadian Defence Minister that the charge by provincial parliament has caused disquiet

Special Correspondent

New Delhi, 16 April 2017. India has registered a strong note of protest before the visiting Canadian Defence Minister, Harjit Singh Sajjan, against a provincial Assembly legislation which had accused India of “genocide” in the events of 1984.

According to Defence Ministry sources, Arun Jaitley made this the focus during their bilateral discussion.

‘Unwarranted comment’

Calling the Bill an unwarranted comment on India’s internal situation, Mr Jaitley conveyed that there was considerable “disquiet” in India and the language was “unreal and exaggerated” which did not conform to reality.

“It was conveyed that as another liberal democracy, it is not in the spirit of India-Canada relations and did not help in furthering the relationship,” a Ministry source said.

In response to Mr Jaitley’s comments, Mr Sajjan dissociated himself from the situation, and said it was a private member’s Bill and moved in the context of the local elections. “He said it did not reflect the position of the Canadian government,” the source stated.

Early this month, Harinder Malhi, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) from Brampton-Springdale, near Toronto, moved a private member’s motion in the Ontario Assembly.

The motion was passed after debate with 34 members voting in favour and five against of the total strength of 107.

Introducing the Bill, Ms Malhi had said, “The Legislative Assembly of Ontario should condemn all forms of communal violence, hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in India and anywhere else in the world, including the 1984 genocide perpetrated against Sikhs throughout India, and call on all sides to embrace truth, justice and reconciliation.”

In their discussions, the two ministers had agreed to deepen the defence cooperation.

Official visit

Mr. Sajjan is on an official visit to India from April 17 to 23 during which he is scheduled to travel to Amritsar, Chandigarh and Mumbai apart from his meetings in Delhi.

Responding to questions on the Khalistan issue at a public event later, Mr. Sajjan said he did not want to “get sucked into internal politics of any province or nation”.

“I don’t promote the breaking up of any country… My job is to build relationship with India,” he said.

Ahead of his visit, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said he would not meet him as he is a “Khalistani sympathiser”.


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