CBC News – Ontario to allow turban-wearing Sikhs to ride motorcycles without helmets

The province joins Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba in allowing exemption, which takes effect on October 18

Toronto – Ontario – Canada, 11 October 2018. Ontario will soon allow turban-wearing Sikhs to ride motorcycles without helmets, joining three other provinces in providing the exemption.

The Progressive Conservative government said Wednesday that the exemption, which goes into effect October 18, will recognize Sikh motorcycle riders’ civil rights and religious expression.

“The safety of our roads will always remain a priority,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “But our government also believes that individuals have personal accountability and responsibility with respect to their own well-being.”

Last week, Tory legislator Prabmeet Sarkaria tabled a bill to amend the Highway Traffic Act to allow the helmet exemption, but the government said Wednesday it would be bringing about the change through a regulation.

“I have been calling for a helmet exemption for turbaned Ontario Sikh motorcyclists for several years now,” Sarkaria said in a statement.

“The wearing of the turban is an essential part of the Sikh faith and identity, and exemptions for Sikhs have been successfully implemented in other provinces in Canada and across the world.”

Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba allow exemption

Turbaned Sikhs are already exempt from wearing motorcycle helmets in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia.

The United Kingdom implemented a motorcycle helmet exemption for Sikhs in 1976, the Ontario government noted.
The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario applauded the decision. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Ford said the move to allow the helmet exemption came after listening to the Sikh community. He also said it fulfilled a promise made during the spring election campaign.

Ontario motorcycle club wants helmet exemption for turban-wearing Sikhs

The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario welcomed the government’s announcement.

“Soon we will have a right to ride with our pride,” it said in a Facebook post.

Expert raises safety concerns

Ontario’s previous Liberal government had resisted calls for the exemption, saying that relevant academic research and legal decisions supported not granting it to Sikh motorcycle riders because it would pose a road safety risk.

Raynald Marchand, general manager of programs at the Canada Safety Council, called the helmet exemption “disappointing” but not surprising since Ford had been signalling the move for months.

“The main implication is that we’re going to get people who will get hurt,” he said. “There’s no question that if they do fall, (a turban) will not provide the protection that a helmet would provide.”

Sikhs on motorcycles must wear helmets, Ontario government says

Marchand, an expert in motorcycle safety, said the exemption should be granted to turban-wearing Sikhs only after they receive their full motorcycle licences, not during training.

“They are most vulnerable at the learning stage,” he said. “They might also find that wearing a helmet is actually a pretty good thing.”



Dawn – Europe’s perplexed Pakistanis

Pervez Hoodbhoy

City of Stockholm – Sweden, 06 October 2018. Pakistani immigrants to Europe tend to get a bad press. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised by my brief encounter in Stockholm three weeks ago with a dozen or so well-settled, ordinary working-class Pakistanis.

Some had migrated from Mirpur (AJK), others from KP and Sindh. Their attitudes and lifestyles challenge the common negative stereotypes of Pakistani migrants in Europe.

Do you speak and read Swedish reasonably well? Are local laws fair and non-discriminatory? Do your children go to Swedish schools and do they have Swedish friends? Can you feel this to be your own country?

Receiving positive responses, I slowly moved on to the most sensitive of questions and held my breath: Would you be okay if your daughter were to date a Swedish guy? Marry him? And, finally, is Sweden where someday you might choose to die and be buried?

Except for the very last question (where some wavered) all other answers were again affirmative. Significantly, these were not well-heeled upper-class folks who readily form a globalised community.

Instead, they were bus drivers, hospital staff, and other blue-collar workers in love with their adopted country. They were trying hard to deal with the us-versus-them binary.

Were such attitudes more common the sickeningly familiar caricature of the backward, anti-freedom, unassimilable Pakistani migrant would vanish. But this wasn’t so clear once I probed further: could you kindly guess how many other Pakistan-Swedes are also largely positive about their new country?

Opinions varied but the consensus was clear — only a minority of first-generation Pakistan-Swedes, like this particular group, is fully at ease. Since they acknowledge getting a fair deal in their new country, what alienates the majority?

Answer: discomfort with the bay hayaee (sexual laxity) of locals and their deen say doori (non-adherence to religion — any religion). As with other Pakistani immigrants in Europe, some stridently reject the core values of their host country and condemn the ‘immoral’ lifestyles of the majority.

Why do Pakistanis enjoying the West’s pluralism stay silent about pluralism within Pakistan?

This unctuous piety is sometimes dubious, it stands against a pioneering research study putting sexuality as a key motivation for young Pakistani men to emigrate.

In his book: Masculinity, Sexuality, and Illegal Immigration, Human Smuggling from Pakistan to Europe, Ali Nobil Ahmad, a fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin, finds the pull of deep-seated psychological forces no less important than the push of economic forces.

After interviewing dozens of young immigrant men from lower-middle-class backgrounds, Ahmad concludes that lure of adventure and libidinal frustration drives even relatively economically secure migrants.

Risking life and limb, they hope to escape a conservative society where every form of contact with women is forbidden, other than a family-arranged marriage, into a world where pleasures of the flesh are tauntingly visible through advertising and the global media.

Parents often marry them off before they depart but the problem doesn’t end there.

The sweet fruits of the Promised Land are enjoyed for a while but long term adaptation to the metropolises of Europe is difficult for many.

Most perplexing is the freedom enjoyed by Western women, with whom liaisons are short term. To shut out their ‘corrupting influence’, families arrange for cousin marriages or import brides. These are routine in Britain’s poorest areas where immigrants have ghettoised.

Growing conservatism and poor schooling in the homeland has made Pakistani immigrants less absorbable globally. As Pakistan steadily becomes less liberal and goes the Al Huda way, the changes are visible in habits and dress. The burqa issue resounds throughout Europe. That welcome for unassimilable immigrants has dried out is unsurprising.

A highly visible trend among Pakistanis is greater immersion in one’s own religious community. Even in North America where Pakistanis are generally wealthier than whites, the social life of most expatriates, the richest ones excepted, organises itself around mosques and Islamic centres.

Toronto, for example, is a city divided among Deobandis, Barelvis, Shias, Bohras, and Ismailis who have built their own places of worship and largely interact only among themselves. Ahmadis have a worship-cum-housing complex spread over 35 acres.

Isolation from the mainstream has extracted a price in the general well-being of immigrants, particularly for Pakistan-origin Brits. Muslim school students, of which a full 40 per cent are Pakistanis, have been documented as underachievers.

Muhammad Anwar, a social scientist and author of British Muslims and State Policies argues that Pakistani-Brits generally have education achievement levels lying at the low end of all ethnic minorities in Britain.

On the other hand, immigrants who share values with the host country can rise high. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and home secretary, Sajid Javid, are obvious examples. Expectedly, wealthier, upper-class Pakistanis are familiar with Western cultural mores.

Educated in top-notch schools, they find the West hospitable. This year, as every year, thousands will make their way to universities across North America, Europe, and Australia. Others will rely on immigration sponsorship by family members who are already citizens.

Most, whether wealthy or poor, will try their hardest to never return home and many will succeed in becoming first-generation immigrants. Some dream of wealth, others of personal fulfilment. Still others want to escape a suffocating social and physical environment. Most will be preoccupied in making a new life for themselves.

But exceptions aside, such as the few I met in Stockholm, Pakistani immigrants to the West don’t insist on changing things back in the homeland.

That Pakistan needs to end discrimination against its ethnic minorities, women, and non-Muslims is heard but rarely, and that too only from Baloch, Sindhi and Kashmiri nationalist groups.

One could have expected broader participation because immigrants benefit from open pluralist societies that, by law, must treat all citizens equally. This, of course, is why Pakistanis choose to immigrate.

If first-generation immigrants lack activism, perhaps the second generation will compensate some day. When such voices for justice are heard loud and clear, and if they are joined by immigrant communities from other countries in demanding changes back home, multiple noxious xenophobic movements in the West will collapse like a pricked balloon. Let’s hope.

The author teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.


Sikh24.com – Canada can’t crush freedom of expression of its citizens on Khalistan Issue, says Canadian Diplomat

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 October 2018. Mr Nadir Patel, Canada’s High Commissioner to India, paid obeisance at the holiest Sikh shrine Sri Harmandar Sahib on October 1. He presented a “Rumala Sahib” before the living Sikh master Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji while paying obeisance inside sanctum sanctorum.

Accompanied by his wife Graham Patel and a little daughter, Nadir Patel partook “langar” and performed “sewa” in the world’s largest community kitchen i.e. Guru Ram Dass Langar.

He was felicitated with a golden model of Sri Harmandar Sahib, set of religious books and a “Siropa” (robe of honour) by the SGPC president S Gobind Singh Longowal.

Interacting with media, Mr Nadir Patel hailed the Sikhs residing in Canada for their work to robust communal harmony across the world. He said that the Sikhs have secured a good status and reputation in Canada due to their hard work and sharp intellect.

Replying to a query posed by a mainstream journalist on the pro-Khalistan upsurge in Canada, Patel said that Canada can’t crush the freedom of expression of its citizen. He also stated that the Canadian government will continue to support the idea of united India and will cooperate with the Indian agencies.


The Hindu – Canada strips Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship

Ottawa had given the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate the rare honour in 2007.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 28 September 2018. Canada’s parliament has voted unanimously to effectively strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship over the Rohingya crisis.

Ottawa had given the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate the rare honour in 2007.

But her international reputation has become tarnished by her refusal to call out the atrocities by her nation’s military against the Rohingya Muslims minority, which Ottawa last week declared a genocide.

“In 2007, the House of Commons granted Aung San Suu Kyi the status of honorary Canadian citizen. Today, the House unanimously passed a motion to remove this status,” said Adam Austen, spokesman for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Thursday.

A brutal military campaign that started last year drove more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh, where they now live in cramped refugee camps, fearful of returning to mainly Buddhist Myanmar despite a repatriation deal.

Many have given accounts of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and arson.

The military has denied nearly all wrongdoing, justifying its crackdown as a legitimate means of rooting out Rohingya militants.

But after a fact-finding mission, the United Nations on Thursday set up a panel to prepare indictments against Myanmar’s army chief and five other top military commanders for crimes against humanity.

Ms Suu Kyi’s democratically-elected government remains in a delicate power balance with the generals, whose presence in parliament gives them an effective veto on constitutional changes.

Mr Austen cited Ms Suu Kyi’s “persistent refusal to denounce the Rohingya genocide” for the withdrawal of the Canadian honour, which is symbolic and comes with no special privileges.

“We will continue to support the Rohingyas by providing humanitarian assistance, imposing sanctions against Myanmar’s generals and demanding that those responsible be held accountable before a competent international body,” he added.

Honorary Canadian citizenship has only been granted to five others including the Dalai Lama, girls education advocate Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.


CBC News – Faiths flourish at the churches, mosques, and gurdwaras of Mill Woods

Mill Woods, Edmonton – Alberta – Canada, 12 September 2018. A chance encounter with a priest in a coffee shop steered Lincoln Ho to a new church and a new branch of his faith.

Ho was a protestant looking for a new church. The priest was a former Baptist. After discussions about faith and visits to the St Theresa Parish, Ho converted to Catholicism. He now joins the hundreds who worship at the church in Mill Woods, where mass can sometimes be standing room only.

“After becoming a Catholic, the (parishioners) would always say congratulations, and I never got that anywhere else,” Ho said after mass on a recent Sunday.

But it’s not just Christians who flock to places of worship in this corner of the city, there are more than 20 major religious institutions in the 26 individual neighbourhoods that comprise Mill Woods.

Faith flourishes in its many forms in the southeast corner of Edmonton, from churches, to mosques to gurdwaras, where Sikhs gather. Worshippers say they not only seek places of spiritual growth, but also centres that build community and friendship.

For Ho, the many faiths practised in Mill Woods symbolise something special about his part of the city.

“Sometimes when I introduce myself, I don’t say I’m from Edmonton, I say I’m from Mill Woods, Alberta,” he said. “Because it is truly a mini-city of different cultures. All of these cultures and ethnicities and faiths come together into something that’s really beautiful. And everyone respects each other.”

‘This is the real community forum’

Less than two kilometres away from St Theresa is the Markaz-Ul-Islam, which sometimes welcomes up to 3,000 Muslims for Friday prayers.

Arif Ali said the mosque shouldn’t be viewed as a self-contained space, it is a place that helps build community both within and beyond its walls, much like a church, or a synagogue or a gurdwara.

“People move into these neighbourhoods because they want to be within walking distance (of the mosque),” he said.

“This is the real community forum for our folks to share their daily experiences, whether it’s about their job, or if their going through sickness, or if they’re new immigrants, coming to ask for help and advice and guidance from the people who have been living here for some time.”

The mosque is about 35 years old. Construction began not long after the first residents started moving into Mill Woods. The area was always conceived as a place that would support affordable housing and the integration of immigrants.

Ali thinks the Mill Woods area still attracts newcomers, who are looking for guidance and the chance to form connections in their new communities.

Focal point for faith, politics, friends

Often, those connections last for generations. At the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, a Gurdwara in Mill Woods, young people gathered upstairs from the langar, a communal kitchen where vegetarian food is prepared and served by volunteers to anyone who visits.

“The food is good, better than my mom’s,” said one teenager, who called the gurdwara a place that is “peaceful” and “chill.”

It is now one of two gurdwaras in Mill Woods. Thirty years ago, Sikh residents might have travelled to the gurdwara on St Albert Trail or the small make-shift gurdwara once held in local school gymnasiums.

But with a flourishing south Asian population in Mill Woods, it’s perhaps no surprise that Sikh places of worship were constructed.

“The gurdwara is a focal point for gathering together, praying,” said said Pal Singh Purewal. “And also in the gurdwara we get how to live life properly according to the teaching of (the faith).”

“And there is another role, that is political. We learn from speakers here of our history of the gurus, our history of the nation, and moreover this is a platform from which our possible future candidates take power.”

Purewal arrived in Edmonton in 1974. Over the years he has watched the Sikh population grow from a few thousand to more than 50,000 in Edmonton and surrounding communities.

“I think this is one of the best communities to live in in Edmonton. I am very happy and have enjoyed every moment.”


Huffington Post – Every Canadian should know the tale of this murdered Sikh Activist

Jaswant Singh Khalra was “disappeared” by Punjab police months after alerting Ottawa of the widespread killings of Sikhs.

Canada, 09 November 2018. In June 1995, Jaswant Singh Khalra gave a speech in the Canadian Parliament about the disappearances of thousands of Sikhs in Punjab. Three months later, he too “disappeared” in Punjab and was never seen again.

“Disappeared” is a euphemism. Just like the tens of thousands of Sikhs Jaswant Singh was talking about, he was murdered by the Punjab police. A respected activist and community figure, Jaswant Singh was another victim of the systematic killing of mainly Sikh men in what have become known as fake “encounters.”

The only difference between Jaswant Singh and the thousands of missing Sikhs he was seeking justice for is that police officers were convicted of his killing, although it took 10 years to happen.

These massacres of the Sikhs largely came in an 11-year period, immediately after the huge rise in activism post the Sikh genocide in 1984. The killings were given judicial validation under the infamous TADA law implemented across India in 1985, widely condemned by human rights groups until it was rescinded in 1995.

However, fake encounter killings, police brutality and torture are all still widely known traits of the Punjab police, as reported by Amnesty International just last year.

Following the Sikh genocide in 1984, the Indian state became reliant on the ultra-violent tactics shown during Operation Blue Star to quell the activism and resistance of the Sikh community.

Almost every Punjabi family has anecdotal evidence of the Punjab police’s brutality at that time; it was in the face of this violence that Jaswant Singh began exposing the mass killings taking place.

It is important to note that the standard Indian state narrative of this era is that the Punjab police, headed by notorious figures such as Kanwar Pal Singh Gill (known as “The Butcher of Punjab”) were tackling separatist terrorism.

The counter view is that following the Sikh genocide, support for Khalistan (an independent Sikh homeland) naturally grew, leading to further violent repression of Sikh activism by the Punjab police, which then led to groups resorting to armed resistance.

It was in this climate that the fake encounters killings became commonplace, with the Punjab Police seemingly operating with impunity. Anyone that could have potentially be part of another uprising of the Sikhs was arrested and often were never to be seen again.

Jaswant Singh began investigating the case of so many missing Sikhs. He was already known for his activism, and as a qualified lawyer he was studious in his approach to expose the killings of countless Sikhs, which included colleagues of his at the bank he worked at.

His breakthrough came when he discovered files from the municipal corporation of the city of Amritsar which contained the names, age, addresses of those who had been killed and later burned by the Police.

Further research revealed other cases in three other districts in Punjab, increasing the list by thousands. Jaswant Singh Khalra exposed the murder of approximately 25,000 Sikhs in the late 1980s/early 90s, a figure many believe is just the tip of the iceberg.

It was after years of research that Canada played a key role in Jaswant Singh’s legacy. Invited and hosted in Canada by the World Sikh Organization, a speech he made in Parliament in Ottawa illuminated his research.

That speech is hailed as a breakthrough moment for Sikh activism to this day, helping thousands realize just how widespread the fake encounter killings of Sikhs were.

It is also a key moment for the Canadian Sikh community, where the traumas of the Sikh nation were presented to the public on such a mainstream platform. The speech highlighted to Canadian Sikhs just why their families had left India in the first place.

The suffering of Sikhs is something that is all too commonly left out of discussions when so-called “Sikh extremism” is discussed.

Ultimately, the impact of that speech is why the Punjab police murdered him just a few months later. However, just as with all great activists and martyrs, his end only helped spur on others to continue his legacy. In the Sikh faith in particular, martyrs are celebrated for their selflessness.

As such, Jaswant Singh has been given the esteemed posthumous title of Shaheed and his activism is celebrated and work continued. This can be seen in the efforts of organizations such as Ensaaf, who recently visually documented the data of over 5000 families that had missing members.

Last year in the USA, a park in California was renamed after Jaswant Singh Khalra.

The suffering of Sikhs is something that is all too commonly left out of discussions when so-called “Sikh extremism” is discussed. This was no more evident than in our very own Canada earlier this year, when media outlets condemned Sikhs for their support of the Khalistan movement, which was portrayed to be a terrorist movement.

Yet, the belief of millions of Sikhs is that such movements are justified, not just by their faith but also by the circumstances forced upon them from 1984. This was arguably best articulated in Canada itself, in the very building that enshrines the principle of free speech.

Without that context, without knowing that tens of thousands (and possibly more) Sikhs were killed at the hands of a brutal regime widely condemned by human rights groups, anyone considering Sikh movements of resistance, sovereignty, and activism will never fully understand where they come from.

That is why it is so important that every Canadian knows the tale of Jaswant Singh Khalra.


The Tribune – Afghan Sikhs see land mafia’s role in blast

Varinder Singh, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar – Panjab – India, 09 July 2018. Afghanistan’s land mafia eying hundreds of acres of precious land with Sikh gurdwaras may have carried out the July 1 Jalalabad blast that killed 17 Sikh leaders on way to meet the President.

There were reports that the attack may have been carried out by the Taliban or Daish (Islamic State). But both organisations have through emissaries conveyed to the community their concern over the killings.

While a government investigation is yet to ascertain the identity of the attackers, the Sikh community in Kabul has little doubt the powerful land mafia did it, pointing out it has already usurped gurdwara land, assets and properties in villages on the outskirts of Kabul, Jalalabad, Ghazni, Herat and Kandahar.

The announcement by Afghanistan Prime Minister Mohammad Ashraf Ghani eight months ago on transfer of government land worth USD 7,00,000 for Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Jalalabad for setting up a school for Sikh children may have triggered the July 1 blast, say local Sikhs.

“The mafia paid USD 4,00,000 as bribe to officials for usurping the land allotted to the Sikhs,” claims Narinder Singh Khalsa, who is contesting the parliamentary elections scheduled for October in place of his father Avtar Singh Khalsa, who was among those killed in the Jalalabad blast.

He says the Sikh delegation was attacked while on way to meet the PM in Jalalabad for government aid for the proposed school.

“Our acquaintances and friends in Ghazni tell us that the Taliban and DAISH have expressed their sympathy for the Sikh victims. They say they have no animosity for the Sikh community,” claims Narinder Singh.

Canada urged to give asylum

Toronto – The Canada India Foundation (CIF) has urged the country to accept Sikh and Hindu minority communities from Afghanistan as refugees following the killing of 19 Sikhs by an IS suicide bomber in Jalalabad.

CIF chair Ajit Someshwar said Canada should help alleviate the plight of Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan the same way it helped Syrian refugees by giving them asylum in the country.


The Tribune – Kanishka ‘single worst terror attack’: Trudeau

Canadian PM pays homage to victims of London-bound Air India flight blown off mid-air in 1985

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 24 June 2018. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has described the 1985 Air India bombing as the “single worst terrorist attack” in the country’s history as he paid tributes to the 329 victims of the Kanishka Flight 182 which was blown off mid-air.

“On this day in 1985, Canadians awoke to news that defied belief, and left our country in a state of shock and suffering,” Trudeau said on Saturday, marking the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism in Canada.

Air India Flight 182, bound for London after picking up passengers in Toronto and Montreal, vanished from the radar off the coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985. A bomb planted on the plane exploded on board, killing all 329 persons on board, including 280 Canadians.

“The Air India bombing remains the single worst terrorist attack in Canada’s history. This horrific act of malice and destruction left families and friends grieving the loss of loved ones, and brought pain that will never completely go away,” the PM said.

“In times of tragedy and testing, Canadians have shown that the values which bring us together – inclusion, compassion, justice, and equality – are much stronger than the forces that try, and fail, to wedge us apart,” Trudeau said.

“Terrorists believe, through cowardly and violent acts, that they can make us question not only our safety, but the democratic institutions that keep us safe. They are wrong. Canadians are for facts and diversity, not fear and division.

Our society thrives on inclusivity and these acts only strengthen our resolve for unity “Canada condemns all forms of terrorism. We stand in solidarity with our allies, and the international community in the ongoing fight to prevent radicalisation and fight terrorism at home and abroad.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my condolences to everyone everywhere who has lost loved ones to terrorism. We also thank and honour those who work each day to keep our citizens, communities, and country safe,” Trudeau said, referring to terror attacks across the world.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said only one person had been brought to justice and there were those still walking free. “The investigation will not be completed until those have been brought to justice,” he said.

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge and a public inquiry later found that the bombings were carried out by the Babbar Khalsa, headed by former Burnaby mill worker Talwinder Singh Parmar.

In British Columbia, Premier John Horgan paid tributes to the Kanishka victims as flags at Parliament Buildings, Victoria, flew at half-mast.

“Canadians will never forget this act of terror that took the lives of 329 persons, including 280 Canadians. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims,” he said.


Sikh24.com – Sikhs Hold Massive Gathering at Parliament Hill to Remember 1984 Attack on Darbar Sahib

Sikh24 Editors

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 01 June 2018. Canadian Sikhs gathered at the Parliament Hill earlier today remember the victims of 1984 Indian Army invasion of the Darbar Sahib, commonly known as the Golden Temple in Punjab. In June 1984, over 30,000 Sikhs were killed following a wave of violence stemming from the Indian army’s assault 34 years ago..

Members of various Sikh organizations such as the Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar Canada, Sikhs for Justice, Ontario Gurdwaras Committee, Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwaras Council and the BC Sikh Council joined hands to organize a National gathering of the Canadian Sikh Community to pay tribute to the martyrs who laid their lives to protect the sanctity of Sri Akal Takht Sahib.

Bibi Pritam Kaur, renowned Sikh activist and wife of Shaheed Bhai Rashpal Singh, personal assistant to Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, was the chief guest at the event. Her roaring speech led the Sikh sangat to resound echoes of the jakaras outside the Parliament Hill.

She acquainted the attendees with continued atrocities against minorities in India.

“The Sikh diaspora that was fortunate enough to escape will never forget those who were systematically killed by Indian soldiers and organized mobs,” said Sukhminder Singh Hansra president of Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar Canada East (SADA Canada).

“While we honour and commemorate the victims, we will also be celebrating the rights and freedoms we enjoy as Canadians. There’s no way the Indian government would tolerate an event of this kind.” said Bhagat Singh Brar executive member of Ontario Gurdwaras Committee.


The Tribune – Two ‘radicals’ held in Batala

Were working at behest of Canada, UK handlers, say police

Ravi Dhaliwal, Tribune News Service

Batala – Panjab – India, 02 June 2018. The police on Saturday arrested two suspected Sikh radicals, operating allegedly at the behest of their foreign handlers, including Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a Canada-based organisation.

The arrests of Dharminder Singh, alias Commando Singh, and Kirpal Singh that came days before the 06 June anniversary of Operation Blue Star were announced by IG (Border) Surinder Pal Singh Parmar and Batala SSP Opinderjit Singh Ghuman at a joint press conference.

The IG said the SFJ had been spearheading the separatist ‘Sikh referendum-2020’. “The organisation has been trying to enlist the support of radicals and gangsters for the referendum aiming at liberating Punjab from the Indian Government,” said Parmar.

The radicals were arrested from Dharminder’s house in Harpura Dhandoi village of Batala district.

They were also involved in “torching liquor vends” at the village on May 31, he said. Apart from Pannun, the other foreign handlers had been identified as Paramjit Singh Pamma and Maan Singh (UK) and Deep Kaur (Malaysia), the IG said.

Both Kirpal and Dharminder admitted that their handlers got in touch with them through social networking sites and were paid money to carry out secessionist activities like spray painting ‘Sikh referendum’ posters and also setting afire liquor vends and other government properties ahead of the Blue Star anniversary.

Dharminder Singh also had a stint with the Territorial Army and before he left it in January 2016, he had become well-trained in handling firearms, which was part of his training regime.

Several spray paint bottles, posters of ‘Sikh referendum’ and two revolvers were recovered from the duo. A case under Sections 307, 438, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC has been registered at the Rangar Nangal police station.

A Qadian resident, Ravinder Singh Raju, is also being questioned for his links with the radicals. The officials said they would divulge the details of Raju’s involvement later. During interrogation, it was revealed that Pannun had also asked the duo to put up referendum posters during the recently held IPL matches in Mohali.

The IG said: “The arrests fly in the face of repeated assertions by Pannun and others that they were not funding any terror activities in Punjab.”

Another thin story about two ‘radicals’ armed with two revolvers, spray-paint and posters