Members of the Sikh group forged their votes for The worldwide referendum on Punjab independence in London on Oct. 31, 2021.Yui Mok – PA Pictures/Getty Pictures

A secessionist Sikh group is pressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to disavow names from India’s envoy for Canada to crack down on funding of a movement to create a separate state in Punjab.

Sikhs for Justice, An group headquartered in Washington, has written to Mr. Trudeau, disputing Indian Extreme Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma’s current suggestions to The Globe and Mail. Sikhs for Justice has been conducting referendums in Canadian cities on Punjab independence as An factor of A worldwide advertising campaign on the matter.

Mr. Verma informed The Globe final month that New Delhi Is apprehensive that some segments of the Sikh group in Canada are offering monetary and completely different assist to secessionists who Want to separate Punjab from India. He referred to as on Ottawa to crack down on diasporic funding of the Sikh independence movement That is looking for to create a sovereign homeland Usually acknowledged as Khalistan.

Gurpatwant Pannun, The mannequin Ny-based mostly widespread counsel for Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), wrote to Mr. Trudeau Dec. 7, accusing Mr. Verma of interfering in Canadian home affairs and looking for to conscript Ottawa To promote the Indian authorities’s political ends. In a later interview, Mr. Pannun said It is right to name Sikhs for Justice a secessionist group.

His letter to Mr. Trudeau additionally famous that the Indian envoy’s suggestions Occurred after 110,000 Canadian Sikhs voted in referendums on Sept. 18 in Brampton and 75,000 forged ballots on Nov. 6 in Mississauga on whether or not Punjab ought to obtain independence from India. Comparable votes are being held in completely different primary Canadian cities with vital Sikh populations and about 20 nations Throughout the globe.

The Pollquestion On this non-binding referendum is: “Should Indian-ruled Punjab be an unbiased nation?”

“Sikhs in Canada Aren’t nameing for the overthrow of the Indian authorities. Nor are they urging their brethren to take up arms in the direction of the Indian state,” Mr. Pannun wrote Inside the letter to Mr. Trudeau that was provided to The Globe. “Sikhs in Canada are merely peaceablely voicing their assist for the peaceable Khalistan independence movement. It Is that this allegedly unwellegal exercise on which India asks Canada to crack down.”

Mr. Pannun urged Mr. Trudeau to make it “clear to The federal authorities of India that Canada wunwell not permit a recurrentative of a overseas authorities to strain it into suppressing the free speech of its residents, nor wunwell it permit fear and hate mongering in the direction of Canadian Sikhs.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Trudeau declined to say whether or not the Prime Minister would disavow Mr. Verma’s suggestions or whether or not Ottawa felt India was overstepping its bounds in Canada.

Rita Trichur: Jagmeet Singh’s suggestions on Khalistan hazard undermining Canada’s Indo-Pacific method

“We wunwell On A daily basis assist freedom of categoricalion and political participation For everyone in Canada,” Ann-Clara Vaunwellancourt, lead press secretary for Mr. Trudeau said. “When it Includes the Khalistan referendums presently occurring Throughout the globe, our authorities has been clear that we respect the territorial integrity of India.

Mr. Pannun additionally categoricaled concern that “India’s ongoing propaganda in the direction of Canadian Sikhs might Finish in an uptick in hate crimes in the direction of Sikhs in Canada and across the globe.”

New Delhi’s envoy informed The Globe in November that India Is apprehensive about “unwellegal channels That are being Utilized by these Canadians of Indian origin Who’re making an try to push for the dismemberment of India or secession from India.”

The Tribune, a north Indian Daily, final yr reported that India’s Nationwide Investigation Agency, a counterterrorism group, go toed Canada in November, 2021, To debate with Canadian authorities “the funding routes For expert-Khalistan teams.”

Requested for Contact upon the letter to Mr. Trudeau from the Sikh group, India’s Extreme Commissioner in Canada famous that Sikhs for Justice has been “declared as an unregulationful affiliation” by The federal authorities of India.

Mr. Verma, in A press launch, said India adheres to the United Nations Structure and Does not intrude Inside The within affairs of completely different nations. “Any Attempt and threaten the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India is in the direction of all relevant provisions of worldwide regulation. India wunwell proceed its efforts in primarytaining its territorial integrity and sovereignty secured, the placeas reprimarying dedicated to all its worldwide obligations.”

The Canadian authorities has distanced itself from the unofficial and non-binding referendums organized by the SFJ, which has been banned in India for advocating separatism.

David Morrison, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, informed his Indian counterpart in early November that “Canada respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and Does not acknowledge or assist unofficial referendums,” Based on a readout launched by the Division Of worldwide Affairs.

On The identical time, Mr. Morrison additionally informed the Indian official that “people in Canada are free to assemble and categorical their views, As prolonged as they Achieve this peaceablely and regulationfully.”

The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP events have members of the Sikh religion Inside their caucuses and think about Sikh Canadians An important voting bloc.

However Ottawa has additionally signalled that it Desires to open doorways to nearer financial and diplomatic ties with India as An factor of its Indo-Pacific method.

Ottawa-New Delhi relations have been frosty since Mr. Trudeau turned Prime Minister in 2015, collectively with an unwell-fated journey in 2018 the place Jaspal Atwal, convicted of making an try to assassinate an Indian cupboard minister in 1986, was invited to dine with the Prime Minister By way of the go to. The invitation was rescinded after it acquired here to mild but he was earlier photographed with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau After which-infrastructure minister Amarjeet Sohi at an earlier event in Mumbai.

In 2020, India additionally accused Mr. Trudeau of inciting “extremist actions” after he raised considerations about New Delhi’s response to farmers protesting in the direction of a regulation that they feared Would go away them weak to exploitation by firms. Mr. Trudeau said Canada would On A daily basis assist The Greater of farmers to be heard.

The Liberal and Conservative events have said they assist a united India the placeas assisting The bests of Canadian Sikhs to peaceablely advocate for an unbiased Punjab.

However NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh, who has Prior to now attended Khalistan rallies earlier than turning into leader in 2017, has declined to say the place he stood on The drawback. The NDP has demanded that Mr. Verma current proof of unwellegal funding to regulation enforcement.



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