Canada’s Minister of Public Safety condemns Khalistani glorification of violence

A bullet-ridden effigy of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was prominently displayed and glorified at a rally in Vancouver, sparking public outcry.

Recently, the spectre of Khalistani extremism has once again cast a dark shadow over Canadian soil. Reports of imagery depicting the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Vancouver have drawn sharp rebukes, notably from Canadian Minister of Public Safety, Dominic LeBlanc.

Minister LeBlanc posted on X: “This week, there were reports of imagery depicting the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Vancouver. The promotion of violence is never acceptable in Canada.”

This statement by Minister LeBlanc resonates deeply amonmgst the Indian diaspora community members, especially from North India, as it underscores the urgent need for Western democracies to critically assess and robustly counteract the support for Khalistani extremist ideology within their borders.

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Commenting on a recent atatck on Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was “beaten” by a man in a Copenhagen square at Kultorvet, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted emphatically:

“We cannot dismiss or normalize acts of aggression like this. It’s dangerous to our democracies.”

Meawnhile, PM Trudeau or his office has not released any statement on Khalisatni glorification of violence and intimidation of citizens in his own country.

Mocha Bezirgan, a young investigative journalist, was the first one to bravely cover Khalistan separatists gathering in front of India’s consulate in Vancouver. He pointed out how bullet-ridden effigy of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards was prominently displayed and glorified at this rally.

“Signs reading “KILL MODI politics” were spotted, and a picture of Talwinder Singh Parmar, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Air India bombings, was being glorified as a “Canadian Singh who attained martyrdom fighting Indian terror forces.”

Through provocative displays and incendiary rhetoric that celebrates violence as a means to an end, Khalistanis are advocating for a separate Sikh state of Khalistan (Land of the pure), to be carved out of Northern India. This movement reached its bloody zenith in the 1980s and early 1990s, resulting in thousands of deaths and widespread chaos especailly in Punjab.

Image source: Indian Express.

The imagery of PM Gandhi’s assassination is not merely a historical reference; it is a symbol of violence that has no place in a civilised society. The dissemination and promotion of such imagery serve to incite hatred and violence, contravening Canadian laws and values.

Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament of Canada, has been calling upon Trudeau government and local law enforcement agencies to take immediate action against Khalistan supporters.

“This is continuation of threats with a similar float in Brampton couple of years back and few months back Pannu of Sikhs for Justice asking Hindus to go back to India…The prominence of bindi on the forehead of Indira Gandhi is to make doubly sure the intended targets are Hindus in Canada.”

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Western democracies, including Canada and Australia, pride themselves on upholding principles of peace, tolerance, and the rule of law. Ironically, these are the very foundations that extremist ideologies undermine. By glorifying acts of violence, especially against politicians, Khalistanis directly contradict the values of peaceful coexistence and democratic discourse. It fosters a culture of hate and divisiveness, which can lead to communal tensions and social fragmentation within multicultural societies.

The support for such extremist ideologies, even if limited to a vocal minority, poses significant risks. It not only emboldens these individuals to undertake acts of violence, believing them to be justified in the pursuit of their political goals, but also endangers the lives of innocent citizens.

There needs to be a clear and unequivocal condemnation of all forms of extremism by Western political leaders, community organisations, and civil society members. Additionally, the law enforcement agencies must be proactive in identifying and neutralising threats posed by extremist groups to local community.

Fostering better integration and engagement within the Indian diaspora is crucial too. Indian community leaders should be encouraged to work with authorities to address grievances and promote a narrative of inclusion and harmony.

The Khalistani extremist ideology, with its dangerous appeal and destructive history, poses a significant threat to the values and safety of societies like Canada and Australia. The glorification of violence and extremism, especially pushed from West, under any pretext is unacceptable in any democracy.

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