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Posted at: Dec 16, 2018, 10:40 PM; last updated: Dec 16, 2018, 10:40 PM (IST)

Canadian report on Khalistanis generates a lot of heat for Trudeau govt

Diaspora members seek resignation of all 20 Punjabi MPs over the issue
Canadian report on Khalistanis generates a lot of heat for Trudeau govt
Canada''s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 16

The Canadian government's controversial 2018 report suggesting Canada continues to face 'low-level' security threats from Canada-based Khalistanis continues to generate a lot of heat for the Liberal government with the Punjabi diaspora and Sikh groups exhorting all Punjabi 20 MPs and one senator to resign over the contentious issue.

The Canadian government's 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada has grabbed the centrestage of diaspora discourse. It has listed militant organiSations like Daesh or Al-Qaeda and Sunni Islamic groups as major threats while, Canada-based Sikh, Sunni and some Shia sections of radicals have  been depicted as re-emerging and 'posing low-level' threat to the country.

All efforts of the Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to calm down the Punjabi and Sikh diaspora have seemingly failed with the outcry of the diaspora reaching a new crescendo. Goodale had said he would have the officials review use of words like Sikh, Sunni and Shia to describe terror threats even as, the minister has stopped short of agreeing to remove the reference about Sikhs as others from the report.

Brimming to the full, the diaspora anguish over the report has reached its peak with almost all Punjabi radio, TV, web channels hosting shows on the hot top wherein, members of Punjabi community are heard criticising the Liberal government for its 'strange effort' to 'alienate' the peace-loving community.

"There has been no incident of violence related to the Sikhs or Punjabis in past over 20 years. So, how come they have become threat to a country whom they have adopted as their  home?" said an Etobicoke-based Sikh businessman requesting anonymity. "How can six lakh Sikhs or their section be an extremism threat when no evidence exists in this context?" said Balbir Singh, a Toronto-based NRI.

Almost all Canada-based Sikh organisations including, the Canadian Sikh Association, have advised the MPs and other ruling party leaders to step down to protest against the government step and to press it for removal of Sikh references in the report.

Earlier, the BC-Centre Liberal MP Randeep Sarai had sought deletion of the Sikh reference from the report. He has also shot off a letter to Goodale saying it merely has reference of 1985 Air India numbing and nothing else. Sarai had himself sparked a controversy for having secured an invitation for a convicted Sikh for his participation in one of events of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New Delhi during his India trip in February.

Another report citing a national security expert and an Ottawa-based university professor Wesley Wark expresses surprise over the metion of two Sikh extremist groups mention in the report who were 'not active' in Canada for years.

Canada's main opposition party-the New Democratic Party (NDP)-has also gunned for the Liberal government. The NDP chief Jagmeet Singh has said the report stokes fear about the Sikh community 'without any evidence' and it was 'dangerous and wrong'.  NDP MP Matthew Dube has sought the government to do more than deletion of certain words from the report.

Balpreet Singh, a representative of the World Sikh Organisation of Canada has said it was for the first time Sikh extremism has figured in the threat assessment report and that too sans any evidence.

On the other hand, Conservative Party MP Garnett Genuis has asked the government to come out with more information to justify its report on a sensitive issue.

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