Indian-origin Canadian MP Chandra Arya alleges Khalistani threat to Hindus
September 21, 2023 | 06:36 pm 3 min read
Canadian MP Chandra Arya on Thursday said that Hindus in Canada are fearful of attacks from Khalistani extremists after Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) chief Gurpatwant Singh Pannun threatened Hindus to leave the country. Arya, a fellow party member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accused the Canadian government of tolerating hate crimes in the name of freedom of expression. He urged the Hindus in Canada to remain calm, saying that Pannun wants to create divisions within the Hindu and Sikh diaspora.
Why does this story matter?
This comes amid escalating tensions between India and Canada due to the Khalistan movement, which seeks an independent Sikh nation to be carved out of India. Indian consulates and Hindu temples in Canada have been attacked multiple times by alleged Khalistani extremists, evoking a sharp reaction from the Indian government. Canada recently accused the Indian government of being involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, which India dismissed as baseless allegations to shift focus from Khalistani elements.
Majority of Canadian Sikhs reject Khalistan: Arya
Arya, a member of the ruling Liberal Party of Canada, said that most Canadian Sikhs do not support the Khalistan movement. He said that while most Sikh Canadians may not publicly condemn the Khalistan movement, “they are deeply connected to the Hindu-Canadian community through family relationships and shared social and cultural ties.” He also expressed concern over recent attacks on Hindu temples and the public celebration of the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Report incidents of Hinduphobia: Arya urges Hindus in Canada
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.
I have heard from many Hindu-Canadians who are… pic.twitter.com/z3vkAcsUDs
— Chandra Arya (@AryaCanada) September 20, 2023
Glorification of terrorism not freedom of speech: Arya
Slamming the Canadian government for alleged double standards, Arya said, “I can’t understand how the glorification of terrorism or a hate crime targeting a religious group is allowed in the name of freedom of speech and expression.” In an attempt to give some perspective to other Canadians, he said that if a white supremacist asked any racial group to leave Canada, it would cause outrage. “But apparently, this Khalistani leader can get away with this hate crime,” he added.
‘Canada has to differentiate between liberty and license’
Furthermore, Arya noted that Hindu Canadians are often seen as soft targets due to their low profile and urged them to be proud of their faith, heritage, and contributions to Canada’s socio-economic success. Surrey’s Friends of Canada and India Foundation President Maninder Gill backed Arya, saying that Canada boasts of the Charter of Rights “but a handful of people continue to run amok and vandalize Hindu places of worship. Canada has to differentiate between liberty and license.”
Arya has been in Canada for 19 years
Arya was born in Karnataka‘s Dwaralu and has been in Canada for the last 19 years. He currently serves as a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade. He also raised the issue of an attack on a Hindu temple in Brampton in parliament in February, citing “rising Hinduphobia in Canada.” Canada’s 2021 census showed there were 828,195 Hindus in the country, a significant jump from 297,200 in the 2001 census.
NIA postpones visit to Canada to probe consulate attack
Earlier in the day, India’s prime counter-terrorism task force, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), released a list of 10 suspects who allegedly attacked the Indian consulate in San Francisco in March. It requested information from the public on any of the suspects while promising to keep the informant’s identity anonymous. Similar attacks took place on Indian consulates in Canada and the UK. However, the NIA has deferred its scheduled visit to Canada to investigate the attack amid the ongoing row.
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