New Delhi, September 21
The threat by designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun asking all Indo-Canadian Hindus to leave the country has left the community shocked and terrified, said a Canadian MP of Indian origin as well as an organisation claiming the support of Hindus in Canada.
Pannun has also announced that protests are planned outside Indian consulates in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver on September 25. He has also sought the expulsion of Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Verma.
Indian-origin MP Chandra Arya, who has been vocal on the Khalistan issue, on Thursday urged the community to stay calm, vigilant and report incidents of Hinduphobia following a video from Pannun that threatens Hindus and asks them to leave Canada.
Stating that Hindu-Canadians are 'soft targets', Arya said Pannun was emboldened by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's accusations against Indian intelligence agencies.
"I have heard from many Hindu-Canadians who are fearful after this targeted attack. I urge Hindu-Canadians to stay calm but vigilant. Please report any incident of Hinduphobia to your local law-enforcement agencies," said Arya, originally from Karnataka, in a post on X.
Few days back Khalistan movement leader in Canada and the president of Sikhs for Justice which organizes the so-called referendum Gurpatwant Singh Pannun attacked Hindu-Canadians asking us to leave Canada and go back to India.— Chandra Arya (@AryaCanada) September 20, 2023
I have heard from many Hindu-Canadians who are… pic.twitter.com/z3vkAcsUDs
In a sign that Hindutva forces have been activated, the Hindu Forum Canada, in a letter to the Canadian Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc, drew his attention to their deep concerns over Pannun’s threats. In the US, first-term Indo-American Congressman Shri Thanedar reportedly attended a strategising meeting of the Hindu American Foundation.
Hindu Forum Canada asked the authorities to treat this matter with the “utmost seriousness” as “our alarm has been exacerbated” by the dissemination of hateful videos. “Will they persist in classifying this threat as a freedom of expression or will they acknowledge the danger that has inadvertently befallen Indian citizens (sic)?” asked the letter that carried no name and was signed by its “Board of Directors”.
Meanwhile, Arya pointed out that the Hindu and Sikh communities in Canada are connected through family relationships and shared social and cultural ties. “Let me be clear. Vast majority of our Canadian Sikh brothers and sisters do not support the Khalistan movement. Most Sikh Canadians may not publicly condemn the Khalistan movement for several reasons but they are deeply connected to the Hindu-Canadian community,” said Arya.
The MP saw Pannun’s direct attack on Hindu-Canadians as a further escalation of the recent attacks on Hindu temples and public celebration of the assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi by terrorists.
Because Hindu Canadians keep a "low profile, they are considered soft targets", Arya said while stating that he had been repeatedly attacked for raising a flag with Hindu religious sacred symbol Om on Canadian Parliament hill.
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