Amritsar, September 19
Amid souring diplomatic relations between India and Canada over the killing of a Khalistani leader in June, the SGPC Tuesday said the matter is “very serious” and will affect Sikhs across the world.
Canada and India have expelled a senior diplomat each after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the involvement of “agents of the Indian government” in the killing of a prominent Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in June, claims outrightly rejected by New Delhi as “absurd” and “motivated”.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of Sikhs, said although the Indian government trashed the Canadian government’s accusations and also expelled a Canadian diplomat, this matter is “very serious” and will affect Sikhs at the global level.
SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami on Tuesday appealed to the Centre to resolve the issues of Sikhs in India and move towards an appropriate and meaningful solution by understanding the problems and feelings of the Sikh community living abroad.
“In the murder case of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, the expelling of a diplomatic officer of India by the Canadian government after allegations were levelled against him raises many questions,” Dhami said.
“As a reaction to this, even though India rejected the allegations and expelled a Canadian diplomatic officer, this matter is very serious and directly related to the Sikhs which is going to affect the community members at the global level,” he added.
The SGPC chief further said the governments of both the countries should bring the matter on the agenda of serious consideration instead of levelling accusations.
Dhami asserted that Sikhs are living across the globe, whose human rights as well as religious concerns are important.
“The Sikh community has gone through many painful times,” said Dhami as he referred to some incidents, including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“Even today, the Sikhs living in many countries have been deprived of coming to their homeland and of paying obeisance at the sacred shrines of their Gurus (religious masters),” said Dhami in a statement here.
He said the Sikhs have always kept their presence and existence high in the country as well as in the whole world with their hardworking nature and intellectual strength, despite which the community has to always struggle for its rights.
“It is the responsibility of the government of the country to adopt a sincere approach regarding such matters related to the Sikhs of the country and abroad and not to allow an atmosphere of distrust among the community members,” Dhami stated.
“Seeing the existence of Sikhs in the whole world today, both Canada and India need to join hands, so that the truth can come out in case of accusations and the relations between the two countries also remain good,” he added.
On the other hand, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) called the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister as a cause of “serious concern” and urged both the governments of Canada and India to settle the matter with a statesman-like approach, instead of a confrontational one.
“We, the Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, have made unparalleled sacrifices for the independence, security and integrity of the nation and there can never be a compromise on that,” the SAD said in a statement on X.
“The current developments around relations between India and Canada are extremely worrying as this will adversely affect the lives and livelihood of our people, especially our young students in Canada,” it added.
“The recent statement of the Canadian Prime Minister is a cause of serious concern. The Shiromani Akali Dal urges both the governments of Canada and India to settle the matter not with a confrontationist but with a statesman-like approach,” the SAD added on X.
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