DNA India – Canadian Sikh separatist accused of terrorism appointed as gurdwara president

Surrey – British Columbia – Canada, 11 January 2019. A Canadian Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who has been accused by India of running a terror camp in British Columbia has been elected unopposed to head the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, which has one of the largest memberships in Canada.

Nijjar’s name was on the list of wanted persons that was handed over to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh during his trip to India in February 2018.

He was also briefly taken into custody by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in April 2018 before being released without any charges being filed.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s appointment reflects that Khalistani extremists are taking charge of gurudwaras in Canada and running the campaign for a separate Sikh country Khalistan.

This comes a month after Canada listed Khalistani extremism among the terror threats facing the country.

A 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada has said that the country is facing threat from growing Khalistani extremism in the country.

In the reference to Khalistani extremism, the report stated, “Some individuals in Canada continue to support Sikh (Khalistani) extremist ideologies and movements.”

It mentioned that violent activities in support of Khalistan had “fallen since their height during the 1982-1993 period when individuals and groups conducted numerous terrorist attacks.”

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-canadian-sikh-separatist-accused-of-terrorism-appointed-as-gurudwara-president-2706693

People like CM Amarinder Singh are a confused lot, they reckon that everybody who is in favour of Khalistan is also a terrorist.
Man in Blue

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CBC News – Dozens of Sikh and Hindu families persecuted in Afghanistan approved to settle in Canada

Sixty-five refugee families will move to Canada, with around a dozen bound for Surrey

Clare Hennig

Lower Mainland – BC – Canada, 27 December 2018. The World Sikh Organization is spearheading efforts to bring 65 refugee families from Afghanistan, where Sikhs and Hindus are being persecuted, to Canada, and will settle about a dozen of the families in Surrey, B.C.

The organization has been raising money to privately sponsor the families and recently found out their applications have been given initial approval from the government.

‘Chaos benefits the Taliban’: Why the war in Afghanistan is getting worse

Each family needs between $25,000 to $30,000 for their first year in Canada. The organization put the funds in a trust before the applications were accepted.

“In 2015, we got an urgent message, a panicking message, from someone in Afghanistan saying that the Sikh and the Hindu families there were being targeted by the Taliban,” said Gian Singh Sandhu, founding president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

A suicide bombing that killed 19 people in July was a recent example of targeted violence against Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan, Sandhu said.

Sandhu pointed to a suicide bombing three months ago that targeted a group of Sikhs and Hindus on their way to meet Afghanistan’s president as just one example of ongoing persecution in the country.

Suicide bomber targets Sikhs, Hindus in Afghanistan, 19 dead

“At one time, we had a population of over 200,000 families there and currently there is less than 1,000 — they have all fled or many of them have been killed,” Sandhu told Laura Lynch, guest host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

No immigration status in India

Some of the families that left ended up in India, where international aid groups like the World Sikh Organization and the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation became involved.

But their plight wasn’t over even after leaving Afghanistan, Sandhu said, because the families weren’t given any immigration status in India and struggled with language and schooling.

“The only schooling that they had, if they wanted to go to, was actually to go to the Muslim schools,” Sandhu said.

The first seven families are expected to arrive in the Lower Mainland in January.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sikh-hindu-families-afghanistan-approved-settle-bc-1.4959759

Global News – Ralph Goodale says Canada will reconsider descriptions of Sikh groups in terror report

Mia Rabson

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 14 December 2018. Canada’s public-safety ministry will reconsider the way Sikh organizations are described in a recent report outlining terror threats in Canada, the department’s minister Ralph Goodale said Friday.

The Canadian Sikh community, including one of Goodale’s fellow Liberal MPs, wants him to do far more than fix a few words.

Goodale said he is confident the security officials who wrote the 2018 report on terrorism threats facing Canada did not mean to malign entire religions when describing Sikh, Shia and Sunni extremism but he is still asking them to make changes to be more precise.

Balpreet Singh, a lawyer representing the World Sikh Organization of Canada, said Goodale has missed the point. Singh said this is the first time Sikh extremism has been mentioned in the annual terror-threat assessment but provides no evidence for doing so.

He said the only incident the report mentions is the bombing of an Air India flight leaving Canada for New Delhi and Mumbai. That attack killed 329 people but it was in 1985.

“Reevaluating the language is fine but just the fact that this section was there is very troubling given that there is absolutely no context beyond something that happened three decades ago,” said Singh.

The report says “some individuals in Canada continue to support Sikh (Khalistani) extremist ideologies and movements.”

Khalistan is the name for an independent Indian state proposed by some Sikhs. Extremists demanding Sikh independence were behind the Air India bombing, but Singh said there is simply no evidence Sikh extremism exists in Canada today.

He said just advocating for an independent Sikh state is no different from wanting Quebec to separate from Canada.

Ralph Goodale says Canada will reconsider descriptions of Sikh groups in terror report

 

WSO Call to action – Sikhs are not terrorists

The Government of Canada shockingly includes Sikhs in Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada!

The 2018 report, from Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, on Canada’s terrorist threat environment included the “Sikh extremism” component for the first time this year.

The report does not point to any current incident of violence or terrorism associated with the Sikh community in Canada and only references the 1985 Air India tragedy.

The Globe and Mail have said the addition of Sikhs in the report comes “without providing an explanation for this addition”.

The inclusion of Sikhs is an extreme capitulation to the false Indian narrative of “Sikh extremism” on the rise – a completely unfounded position.

Make your voice heard !

Tell the Government of Canada, that:

– Allegations in this report are unfounded and unfair
– These references will have significant negative consequences on the reputation and lives of Sikhs in Canada
– The report must be retracted immediately, or an explanation provided

Sample email

Dear __________,

In the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada, Sikhs and the Khalistan Movement was listed.

As a Sikh Canadian, this is very disheartening to see because I believe that the framing of the movement as a whole having extremist ties is detrimental to the Sikh community.

This report can lead Canadians to believe that any supporter of Khalistan is an extremist when this is entirely false.

It also leads Canadians to believe that there is a Sikh “extremism” or “terrorism” problem in Canada right now, especially when Sikhs are highlighted as one of the top 5 terrorist threats to Canada. This is very disappointing when the only extremist act that is referred to is the Air India tragedy from over 30 years ago.

I think that it is the Government’s responsibility to be a good steward of public information, and without the distinction between Khalistan supporters and actual extremists and terrorist, there is a dangerous opportunity to spread misinformation to the public and portray all Sikhs as extremists.

I urge you to retract and revise the report as well as provide an explanation of why and how Sikhs were included in the first place.

The report as is will have significant negative consequences on the reputation and lives of Sikhs in Canada

I look forward to hearing back from you and I hope that you will right this wrong against the Sikh community.

Thank you for your consideration.

End of sample

Contact Information

You can find your local MP here: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/constituencies/FindMP

Ralph Goodale – Ralph.Goodale@parl.gc.ca
Justin Trudeau – Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Chrystia Freeland – Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca
Harjit Sajjan – Harjit.Sajjan@parl.gc.ca
Navdeep Bains – Navdeep.Bains@parl.gc.ca
Amarjeet Sohi – Amarjeet.Sohi@parl.gc.ca
Bardish Chagger – Bardish.Chagger@parl.gc.ca

WSO Canada <info@worldsikh.org>

1181 Cecil Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1H 7Z6
Canada

The Tribune – Khalistani extremists, Shia groups ‘low-level’ threat to Canada

Varinder Singh, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 13 December 2018. While the main threat to Canada and its interests is posed by individuals or groups inspired by Sunni Islamist ideology and terror groups like Daesh or al-Qaida, Canada continues to face “low-level” threats from other forms of extremism posed by certain right-wing activists, Shia Islamist groups and Canada-based Khalistani extremists.

The Canadian government has issued the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada that clearly indicates that the biggest threat to Canada and its interests is posed by Daesh or al-Qaida and not as much by Sikh (Khalistani) extremists, Shia Islamist groups and other right-wing organisations’ modules active in the country.

“The risk of violence emanating from individuals inspired by such extremism – Shia Islamist groups, Sikh (Khalistani) activists and other right-wing organisations currently poses a lower threat to Canada than that of Daesh or al-Qaida-inspired individuals or groups,” said the report.

The report indicates that certain groups or individuals keep supporting the Sikh movements for achieving their goal of creating an independent homeland for Sikhs in India.

Such violent activities supporting an independent homeland have come down as compared to the Khalistani movement’s height from 1982 till 1993-94 when Khalistani activists had carried out an array of dastardly terror acts, including the bombing of the 1985 Air India flight leaving 331 passengers dead.

The support to the extremist ideology, attacks and activities of the hardliners have since reduced considerably.

Realising this, the Canadian government has pruned the list of such banned terror organisations to just two – International Sikh Youth Federation and Babbar Khalsa International.

Interestingly, the threat level issued by Canada this year remains a more or less similar dossier issued by the Canadian government in recent years or after 2014. For example, the National Terrorism Threat Level, a broad indicator of the terrorist threat to Canada, remains at ‘medium’.

Violence and threat of violence have no place in Canadian society and curbing or eradicating any such thing has always been the top priority of the government.

Interestingly, the allegation hurled by a section of the Indian government that Canada remains a “refuge” for Sikh militants was deflated by facts, especially as both International Sikh Youth Federation and Babbar Khalsa have been lying defunct in that country.

Similarly, no major violence has been carried out by any Khalistani militant group in Canada following the yet-to-be-cracked murder of vernacular journalist Tara Singh Hayer around 20 years ago.

So there has been a vast gap between the Khalistani machinery of the 1980s and its dwindling support base in today’s Canada and elsewhere.

Also, the Referendum 2020 campaign has been peaceful.

The young Sikh generation of Canada has no relation with any sort of extremist ideology. A section of Indian government officials still can’t stomach any criticism of the Indian government coming from Sikhs of Canada.

The Indian authorities had reportedly exhorted Justin Trudeau to crack down on Sikh organisations within Canada during the latter’s trip to India in February.

The report has sparked an outrage among the Canadian Sikh community with a number of Sikh groups urging the government to provide evidence in support of its claim made in the terror assessment report that the “Sikh extremism” was a real-time threat to Canada in the changed scenario.

“They have targeted the Liberal government saying rather than protecting Canadian Sikhs’ reputation and denying the baseless allegations, the Canadian government is capitulating to the Indian government to demand a crackdown on Sikh activists,” said a spokesperson of Canada’s Mississagua-based largest gurdwara Ontario Khalsa Darbar.

Balpreet Singh, legal counsel for World Sikh Organisation of Canada, said there was nothing to suggest violence of any sort in Canada. Also, the British Columbia Gurdwaras’ Council and Ontario Gurdwaras’ Committee representing nearly three dozen gurdwaras, observed that the government’s allegations were irresponsible and these had maligned the image of the peace-loving community.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/khalistani-extremists-shia-groups-low-level-threat-to-canada/697781.html

The Tribune – Sikh Canadian leader kicks off campaign

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 09 December 2018. The leader of Canada’s National Democratic Party (NDP) Jagmeet Singh, the first person of a visible minority group to lead a Canadian federal political party, and his party has kicked off the party’s poll campaign for the British Columbia’s Burnaby South by-election and the 43rd Canadian federal polls.

The NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addressed his party workers gathered from across the country in the capital Ottawa last week. Alleging that a large number of Canadians were distressed and felt that they had voted for something else (Liberals) the stylish ‘poster boy’ of Canadian magazines and publications, Jagmeet said Canadians did not get what they had voted for and that they deserved something better (NDP).

All eyes are on Jagmeet and whether he manages to win the byelection or not? If he manages to put up a good show, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was expected to lose his voters with left leanings and even his government. In any case, Jagmeet Singh or Jimmy Dhaliwal holds the key whether Trudeau will stage his comeback or not.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sikh-canadian-leader-kicks-off-campaign/696224.html

Dawn – Foreign Office confirms talks between Pakistan, Canada over Aasia Bibi

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 13 November 2018. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi discussed Aasia Bibi, recently freed from prison following the overturning of her blasphemy conviction by the Supreme Court, in a phone call with his Canadian counterpart on Monday, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal confirmed on Tuesday.

“The Canadian FM appreciated the Supreme Court’s courageous decision and the Prime Minister’s positive speech,” the tweet added.

In a second tweet, the FO spokesperson added: “FM Qureshi said that Aasia Bibi is our national and Pakistan fully respects her legal rights”.

The confirmation of talks between the two governments on the issue came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said his government was talking to Pakistan over potentially offering asylum to Aasia Bibi.

“We are in discussions with the Pakistani government,” Trudeau had said in an interview to AFP in Paris, where he was attending a peace conference organised by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“There is a delicate domestic context that we respect which is why I don’t want to say any more about that, but I will remind people Canada is a welcoming country,” he said.

Aasia Bibi has been ‘taken under protection’ by the Pakistani state after the overturning of her conviction prompted a wave of protests by religio-political groups.

After her release from prison, she has been flown to a “safe place”. Several governments have offered to grant her family asylum.

Her husband has appealed in particular to Britain, Canada and the United States, claiming that Aasia Bibi’s life would be in danger as long as she lives in Pakistan.

FM Qureshi meets with Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister, discuss possible ways forward for her “repatriation”

FM Qureshi also met Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister on Tuesday in Islamabad and informed her about the government’s efforts regarding her sister’s case, Radio Pakistan reported.

Dr Aafia was convicted in 2010 on charges of attempted murder and assault of United States personnel and is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a US federal prison for female inmates of all security levels with special medical and mental health needs.

In a tweet shared on Tuesday, FM Qureshi said that he had asked the Pakistani Consul General in Houston to seek regular consular visits and to “ensure Dr Aafia] Siddiqui’s well being in line with her legal and human rights”.

Qureshi added that he had assured Dr Fauzia Siddiqui of his “full support” and said that the two had also discussed possible ways forward for Dr Aafia’s return.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1445367/foreign-office-confirms-talks-between-pakistan-canada-over-aasia-bibi

CBC News – Meet Private Buckam Singh, one of the first Sikh soldiers to serve Canada

Private Buckam Singh served in combat on the fields of Flanders in 1916

Carmen Ponciano/CBC

Canadian historian Sandeep Singh Brar rediscovered Private Singh’s story when he found his war medals in a British pawn shop and then went on to locate his grave in a Kitchener, Ontario cemetery.

Not every person worth remembering made it into the history books. Each month, the Secret Life of Canada shouts out a Canadian or Indigenous person that has had a lasting impact worth celebrating. These historical figures may not be on money or monuments but their legacies live on.

Private Buckam Singh’s military contributions to Canada weren’t widely known until almost 100 years after his service, but he has since been recognized as the first Sikh man to enlist with the Canadian army during the First World War.

Private Singh volunteered to fight for Canada despite the government’s restrictive immigration policies against South Asian people.

Here are five things we learned about the soldier, whose service and sacrifice we celebrate this coming Remembrance Day.

1) He was unable to immigrate with his family

Singh was born in India and moved to Canada when he was 14 years old. When he arrived in 1907, it was a tumultuous time in the country for South Asian people.

At this time over 98 % of South Asian immigrants to Canada were Sikhs. They became a target of hate groups like the Asiatic Exclusion League.

The Canadian government resisted South Asian immigration, but due to a labour shortage, British Columbia accepted Sikh labourers. Unfortunately the immigration restrictions meant Sikh men like Singh were not allowed to immigrate with their families, a deterrent to discourage their migration.

2) Sikh Canadians were some of the earliest South Asian immigrants

In 1908, the Canadian government passed a law that stipulated all immigrants had to come to Canada by “continuous journey and through tickets from the country of their birth or nationality or citizenship.”

This meant coming to Canada would be almost impossible for most Sikhs, as there were no direct ships that sailed between India and Canada.

Sikh immigration fell from 2,623 people in 1907 to just six the following year, and the impact on the community’s immigration numbers would be felt for the next 40 years.

3) He was wounded twice

Despite the forced separation from his family due to restrictive immigration policies, Singh enlisted to fight in the First World War in 1915. He would become a member of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He as one of just nine Canadian Sikhs to fight in the war.

Singh was shipped out very quickly. He served with the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion in the battlefields of Flanders in 1916, and was wounded twice in separate battles.

4) He was treated in the hospital run Doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Injured from a gunshot wound, Singh was treated at a hospital run by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, the physician who would go on to write one of the most famous wartime poems: In Flanders Fields.

By 1917, as he was waiting to be sent back to the frontline, Singh developed tuberculosis. He was admitted to the a Canadian-run military hospital and underwent surgery to remove fluid from his lung.

5) He was laid to rest with full honours, but never saw his family again

Singh was sent back to Canada to recover after his surgery. After arriving in Halifax, he made the long train journey to try to recover in Ontario. Sadly, he succumbed to his tuberculosis on August 27, 1919, in Kitchener, Ontario.

He had no family or community around him.

Singh was buried by the Canadian military with full honours and laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener. His grave is one of the only resting places of a Sikh Canadian soldier from the First World War.

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/secretlifeofcanada/meet-private-buckam-singh-one-of-the-first-sikh-soldiers-to-serve-canada-1.4894613

Sikh24.com – Jagmeet Singh hopes Canada will recognize inhuman carnage of Sikhs as genocide

Sikh24 Editors

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 03 November 2018. Jagmeet Singh, who heads the National Democratic Party in Canadian Parliament, has released a statement on the 34th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh genocide.

In his statement, Jagmeet Singh has expressed hope that the House of Commons in Canada and the Canadians will soon recognize the inhuman carnage carried out by the fanatic Hindu mobs in November-1984 as genocide.

Wording of his statement is as follows:

“From November 1st to 4th, Canadians and Human Rights Advocates will mark the 34th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh Genocide.

Sikh men were burned alive. Women were subject to unthinkable sexual violence and children were murdered in gruesome fashion.

Many, including, former Indian Supreme Court Justice, G T Nanavati have pointed out that state resources were instrumental in these premeditated killings.

That is why I join and express my solidarity with the thousands of Canadians that live with this pain as survivors and bearers of inter-generational trauma.

It is also why efforts for healing and reconciliation must be prioritized.

Unfortunately, the statement from a member of the Liberal government to mark today’s solemn anniversary did not do this.

By referring to the tragedy as “riots” the Liberal Government contradicted and undermined the spirit of reconciliation.

Truth-telling is a prerequisite to justice and the naming of these crimes is instrumental to the healing and reconciliation process for those impacted.

In this spirit, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh and as well as the Delhi Assembly and the Ontario Legislature have recognized these atrocities as genocide.

It is my hope that the House of Commons in Canada and this government will do the same.

The path to reconciliation will not be easy, but for the victims and survivors, today we remember”.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/11/03/jagmeet-singh-hopes-canada-will-recognize-inhuman-carnage-of-sikhs-as-genocide/#.W-G85OJRfIU

Sikh24.com – United Sikhs call upon Canadian Prime Minister and House of Commons to provide asylum to Afghan minorities

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 26 October 2018. United Sikhs this week announced a call to action in the House of Commons alongside several members of Parliament to address the increasingly desperate plight of religious minorities in Afghanistan.

After gaining the support of several policy stakeholders, including MPs Garnett Genuis, Elizabeth May, Cheryl Hardcastle, Harold Albrecht, Lisa Raitt, Arnold Viersen and Bob Saroya, following a series of targeted terrorist attacks against Sikhs over the summer, the non-profit human rights organization is now calling upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urgently process asylum for minorities facing religious persecution.

“I was very pleased to join with so many members of various opposition parties, including the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party, to table a petition in the House of Commons in support of persecuted minority communities in Afghanistan,” said MP Genuis, who led the news conference on Wednesday.

“The cross-party engagement on this will hopefully help to move the ball forward and bring about government action, in terms of advocacy, and in terms of facilitating the private sponsorship of refugees by the community here in Canada.”

The news conference comes within weeks of a written human rights statement the organization submitted to the United Nations during a Human Rights Council Session held in Geneva, Switzerland last month.

The three main areas of concern for religious minorities in Afghanistan, as outlined by United Sikhs, are personal safety/security, religious freedom, and the right to life.

As recent as last month, a marked uptick of attacks against Hindus and Sikhs across Afghanistan have become increasingly brutal. On Sept. 1, Satnam Singh and his son, who are both identifiable Sikhs, were shot and killed in their own shop in the Herat Province.

This is believed to be the second marked attack on the Sikh minority after the Taliban orchestrated a suicide bombing on July 1, in which 13 Hindu and Sikh dignitaries were targeted and killed while on their way to a meeting with government officials in Jallalabad.

“The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating for religious minorities,” said Jagdeep Singh, United Sikhs Director of Human Rights Policy, during the news conference.

“Sikhs are forced into segregation and Muslim conversion, and Gurdwaras (Sikh schools of spiritual learning) are regularly attacked by the Taliban and other extremist groups. In 1992, historic records indicate 60,000 lived in Afghanistan (down from 200,000 at one time). Today, there are as few as 1,200 in the country.”

In conjunction with the news conference, a petition of thousands of Canadian residents was formally submitted in the House of Commons, led by MP Garnett Genius, urging the Prime Minister to expedite asylum and grant the local Sikh and Hindu community with requested sponsorship.

“This petition calls for the government to do more to advocate with our Afghan counterpart for the rights of these minorities, and it also asks the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to use the powers granted him to create a special program to help persecuted minorities in Afghanistan,” Genius stated to the Speaker while submitting the petition during regular proceedings on the House of Commons floor.

“The community here in Canada is ready to sponsor these communities. It’s been three years, it’s time for action.”

“At one time, Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and today, less than 5,000 remain,” said MP Harold Albrecht in support of the petition presented.

“We’re calling on the Minister, pointing out to the Minister, that he already has the power, by legislation, to allow vulnerable minorities to come to Canada as privately sponsored refugees directly from the country where they face persecution, and further urging the Minister to raise the persecution faced by this community with the Afghan counterpart and to strongly advocate for more to be done to protect them.”

Building upon this effort, United Sikhs will formally request a meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. In addition, the organization will continue to raise the issue with members of Congress in the United States and Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom.

We should not forget the plight of the Shia Hazaras, an ethnic and religious minority despised by most Afghans, whose mosques are regularly bombed by Taliban and other violent groups.
Man in Blue

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/10/26/united-sikhs-calls-upon-canadian-prime-minister-and-house-of-commons-to-provide-asylum-to-afghan-minorities/#.W9T-5uJoTIU