Prime Minister Trudeau attended a Nagar kirtan in Vancouver less than 24 hours after the decision to remove all references to Khalistani extremism from the report that was made and the changes were in place.
The Justin Trudeau government apparently removed references to Khalistani radicalism in a report on terror threats to Canada in view of a notice that pioneers of the decision Liberal Party wouldn’t be permitted to speak at parades marking Baisakhi, the Punjabi harvest festival.
Pressure from areas of the Sikh people community had mounted on the government over references to Khalistani extremism in Public Safety Canada’s report discharged last December.
A week ago, the government discharged a refreshed rendition of the report that expelled all notice of Sikh and Khalistani extremism, a lot to the chagrin of India.
With federal elections due in October, ‘Nagar kirtans’ or parades are viewed as prime locations for politicians to contact a huge number of voters. For example, the Baisakhi occasion at Surrey in British Columbia attracts in right around 500,000. And its organizers decided that Liberal Party leaders would be banned from speaking at the massive Khalsa Day observation.
“I definitely think the choice we made as a group had an effect, else we would not have seen such a quick response within 36 hours by the Liberal government,” said Moninder Singh, president of Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar and one of the principal organizers of the event in Surrey.
April is the month for Nagar kirtans crosswise over Canada, with certain occasions stretching into the early days of May. There was worry inside Liberal Party circles of a domino impact, across cities and provinces. Singh affirmed his gathering had “began exchanges for other Nagar kirtans in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal to follow suit as well”.
Head administrator Trudeau went to a Nagar kirtan in Vancouver under 24 hours after the choice to expel all references to Khalistani extremism from the report was made and the changes were in place.
The Liberals also received a scare recently when a slate backed by fathers of two major figures of the Sikh community, cabinet minister Navdeep Bains and MP Ruby Sahota, was soundly defeated in elections to the management of Ontario Khalsa Darbar in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
GTA and Metro Vancouver territory (where Surrey is located) represents a trove of seats in the House of Commons, and a majority of Liberal MPs chose in 2015, including Bains and protection serve Harjit Sajjan, are from these regions.
There was also the unspoken threat they could be ostracised by some hardline gurdwaras.
As Singh stated, “There was consistent pressure from many different places that pushed this through and forced the Liberal government to take a strong look at the type of language they had used and agree that it was maligning and would not be used in future.”
Veteran GTA-based journalist Balraj Deol agreed: “This was a victory for Khalistani groups. Removing it [the references] is a political decision. It’s not a security agency assessment. This happened because of the pressure of Khalistanis – they control most of the gurdwaras that hold parades.”
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