Canada’s Alarming Endorsement of Khalistan Extremism is a Growing Concern

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

In a world striving for peace and stability, Canada’s recent actions have raised serious concerns about its stance on extremism, particularly regarding the Khalistani movement. This issue came to the forefront once again when Canada’s House of Commons observed a “moment of silence” to commemorate the first anniversary of Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s death. Nijjar, a figure synonymous with the violent Khalistan movement, represents a troubling chapter in the history of extremism and terrorism.

This gesture was not an isolated incident but part of a broader, disturbing pattern. At the same time, a large protest took place in front of India’s Consulate in Vancouver, where imagery of the mastermind behind the 1985 Air India Flight 182 bombing was prominently displayed. The bombing, Canada’s deadliest terrorist attack, resulted in the deaths of 329 people, including 268 Canadian citizens. Despite this horrific legacy, Canada appears to persist in a trajectory that emboldens Khalistani extremism rather than confronting it.

India has responded decisively to these provocations. The Indian government has systematically reduced political and economic ties with Ottawa. When the Canadian Parliament chose to honour Nijjar, the Indian Embassy in Vancouver highlighted the stark contrast by commemorating the 39th anniversary of the Kanishka bombing, underscoring the difference between honouring a terrorist and remembering the victims of terrorism.

The Trudeau administration’s permissiveness towards Khalistani extremism is not a new development but a continuation of a legacy that dates back to the 1980s. During Pierre Trudeau’s tenure, Canada turned a blind eye to India’s concerns about the burgeoning Khalistani threat. The parallels between past and present are alarming. Just as Talwinder Singh Parmar operated with impunity, despite Indian pleas for his extradition, Nijjar was similarly given free rein until his death.

The indifference or tacit sympathy towards the Khalistani threat had catastrophic consequences in the past. Parmar’s ominous warning in 1982 that “Indian planes will fall from the sky” tragically materialized with the 1985 Kanishka bombing. Despite clear evidence of Parmar’s violent intentions, Canadian authorities failed to act decisively. Today, a similar scenario is unfolding with figures like Nijjar, whose activities were allowed to flourish unchecked.

The recent actions of Khalistani supporters, including the burning of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effigy and the Indian flag under the watchful eyes of the Canadian police, paint a troubling picture of Canada’s stance on extremism. This permissiveness was starkly evident on June 18, 2024, when the Canadian Parliament observed a “moment of silence” for Nijjar, marking a significant departure from a balanced approach to terrorism.

The glorification of figures like Nijjar not only dishonours the memory of the victims of the Kanishka bombing but also misrepresents the true sentiments of the global Sikh community, known for their selflessness and service. Bob Rai, a former Sikh from British Columbia, recently described Nijjar as “just a gangster eliminated by other gangsters,” yet Canadian Khalistan sympathizers have gone so far as to implicate the Indian government in his murder, a sentiment sensationally echoed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

This endorsement of extremist elements within Canada is not merely a domestic issue but a global concern. Journalist-author Terry Milewski, in his book “Blood for Blood: Fifty Years of the Global Khalistan Project,” highlighted how Canadian taxpayers’ money has indirectly funded violence against India. The issue extends beyond Canada’s borders, with thousands of Khalistan separatists in California recently gathering for a non-binding referendum to push their agenda of carving out a separate nation from India.

Canada’s actions send a troubling message, suggesting a willingness to overlook the violent history and ongoing criminal activities associated with these groups. This stance undermines the global fight against terrorism and jeopardizes Canada’s own security and societal harmony. India, and indeed the world, must recognize and address this threat with the seriousness it demands.

If Canada continues on this path, it risks becoming a Pakistan of the West. And just as as India did with Pakistan, it must prioritize national security above all else. The international community must also take note of Canada’s stance and its implications for global security. Only through a unified, uncompromising approach can the threat of extremism be effectively countered.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Khalsa Vox or its members.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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