Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, April 13
In its effort to pacify agitated Sikh diaspora, the Government of Canada has finally removed an ‘unfounded’ reference to Sikh (read Khalistani) extremism in respect of the country’s security from its widely-criticised “2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada”.
The contentious reference had not only peeved Sikhs of Canada, but it had perturbed the Sikh diaspora across the world and the Canadian Sikh community had been challenging the government to either remover the reference from its 2018 report or to make the basis behind such inference or reference public.
The Canadian Sikh community, office-bearers of Canadian gurdwaras and the Sikh advocacy groups, including, the World Sikh Organisation (WSO), had been expressing their outrage and hurt feelings by holding a chain of meetings and by giving representations to the Canadian government in this regard since the release of the controversial report.
The Leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and newly-elected MP Jagmeet Singh along with the NDP Public Safety Critic Matthew Dube had even shot off a letter to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in respect of the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada that had almost ‘labelled’ the Sikh and Muslim and the Sikh communities (or their certain sections) as extremists.
Jagmeet Singh had expressed his concern to the inappropriate labelling of the two communities without any sufficient evidence or basis by way or using terms such as “Shia”, “Sunni” and “Sikh” which, according to him, was relating these all communities to terrorism.
Bowing before the powerful Sikh diaspora and in an attempt to put balm on the bruised feelings of the agitated members of the Sikh and other communities was an update has finally been published by Public Safety Canada (PSC)—a Canadian government organisation--- on April 12.
The update says that as per the Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale’s statement on the 2018 Public Report on terrorist threat to Canada, a review of the language used to describe has been undertaken and was going on. The government’s communication of threats must be clear, concise and cannot be perceived as maligning any groups.
“As we continue this review, it is apparent that in outlining a threat, it must be clearly linked to an ideology rather than a community. The government will carefully select terminology that focuses on the intent or ideology. For example, as a first step, the government will use the term: ‘Extremists who use violent means establish an independent state within India’ rather than terminology that unintentionally impunges an entire religion. The report has been updated to reflect this terminology, and it will be used in future public documents. Going forward, the Government of Canada is committed to applying a bias-free approach to the terminology used to describe any threats inspired by ideology or groups.”
With this update, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has finally acknowledged that “the languages used to describe some threats unintentionally maligned certain communities... and it is not in the line with the values of the Government of Canada”.
It was a different matter that the report has reportedly not been revised fully as yet, the minister has assured that an addendum to the report now suggested that in the future the term “Extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India” will be used as necessary and appropriate.
A section of the MPs who have been taking up the case in respect to the objectionable terms and the members of the community will be discussing the Notice of Update from the minister and the steps to be taken by them in respect in future will be decided later on.
The World Sikh Organisation (WSO) chief Mukhbir Singh has said the removal of the term Sikh (Khalistani) extremism from the 2018 Public Safety Terror Report was an important step towards addressing the grievances and concerns of the Sikh diaspora. He said the report had unfairly targeted and maligned certain specific religious communities.
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