Note: This article was submitted by someone who wished to share their opinion on this important issue without facing possible backlash. As a result, it is being published anonymously.
Goodale, Khalistan, And A Classic Example Of Empty Virtue Signalling
As I partook in Calgary’s most recent Nagar Kirtan parade in celebration of Vaisakhi — a historical and religious festival honouring the birth of Sikhism — I was taken aback by the presence of political paraphernalia at a function that was strictly non-political.
Drawing a crowd north of 60,000 people, the presence of Khalistan propaganda demonstrates the movement lives on with the faintest of heartbeats.
In Canada, the decades-long push for Khalistan lost much of its potency when a “politics of grievance” was adopted in 1994. While Trudeau’s 2018 visit to the Golden Temple angered many Conservatives, CBC Reporter Arshy Mann claims today’s movement consists of peaceful protesters advocating for their self-determination. While true, that doesn’t change the fact that a) Trudeau misappropriated his time during a business trip to India, and b) Sikh separatism has become irrelevant to most within the community.
Following Jagmeet Singh‘s interview with Terry Milewski, his failure to denounce the architect of the Air India Bombing left Canadians uncertain on how to broach the legitimate claims to Sikh separatism.
Singh “supported labelling the terrible 1984 riots in Delhi as a genocide of the Sikhs,” however, he danced around the subsequent question, when asked if “some Canadian Sikhs go too far in honouring Talwinder Singh Parmar, as a ‘martyr’ of the Sikh Nation.”
Instead, he talked to the ‘offensiveness’ of an ethnic “conflict between Hindus and Sikhs” that is largely fabricated that though admirable, was not the answer he needed to give in that instant.
Failing to ‘clarify’ pertinent ‘misconceptions’ on the matter have painted pro-separatists unfairly. Moreover, Singh did little to assuage said concerns.
Given its historically violent past (I.e. Jaspal Atwal and Inderjit Singh Reyat), the Liberal’s international gaffes exacerbate the problems with Canada’s wishy-washy stance on the matter. The need for constructive dialogue should be of the utmost priority. However, at what cost do we, as a nation, hope to achieve that?
From Reyat to Atwal, we must not forget the extremist past of Sikh separatism
In the 1980s, Canada took an aggressive stance on Sikh separatism, and rightfully so.
The extreme violence carried out by supporters of the movement between 1978-1993 — most notably Jaspal Atwal’s assassination attempts of two dignitaries and the 1985 Air India bombing by Inderjit Singh Reyat — left many wary of the movement.
With 331 people perishing in the series of explosions by Reyat, we remember those who lost their lives in what marks the 34th anniversary of the attack.
With the latter given a statutory release in 2015, after serving two-thirds of his sentence, spanning convictions of manslaughter, and perjury, a 2013 psychology report found Reyat lacked “true empathy and remorse” for the mostly 331 Indo-Canadians who perished in the mid-flight bombing over Ireland. However, Laura Hill of Correctional Service Canada found his risk to re-offend low.
Hall states, “There has been no evidence of communication with any negative associates [in 2016] who may hold extremist views or be involved in political activity.”
The Parole Board of Canada indicated he has since accepted his role in the 1985 terrorist attack, but only in part. However, he showed no visible signs of remorse for the victims, nor their families in the process.
However, the son of the attack’s chief plotter was disturbed by the news of Reyat’s release, stating, “This is a positive message for anyone wanting or plotting to make any untoward attacks.”
Reyat currently resides in his B.C. family home, spending time with his family — outside the purview of watchful Canadians.
Though lacking the notoriety of Reyat, Jaspal Atwal’s assassination attempts in 1985 and 1986 continued the decade-long trend of extremist violence by Sikh separatists.
Convicted of attempted murder on one of his two attempts, Atwal was sentenced to 20-years in jail but was later released on parole after serving five-and-a-half years. While he was not convicted for his effort on former B.C. premier and Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh in 1985, he was for Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in 1986.
In a 10-page interview with Metanoia magazine, he claims he was not an advocate for Khalistan.
“Nobody wants [it],” he states. He goes on to say, “The Khalistan movement is all collapsed.”
In a report titled “The Accidental Terrorist,” he claims there was no such attempt on Dosanjh’s life. He chalked up the charge to a misunderstanding regarding some poorly-thought-out statements he made after his acquittal from the 1986 case.
As a car salesman, he mentioned how he “would have beaten the shit out of [Dosanjh] for talking against the Sikh community,” but nothing more.
As for Sidhu, he claims three men, unknown to Atwal at the time, cut off the minister’s car, proceeding to smash his window with a baseball bat. One of the two assailants then shot the minister twice — supposedly to injure — leaving a nearly fatal wound close to his heart.
While he poses no security threat to Canadians, the damage incurred, both to Sidhu, and Atwal’s reputation, cannot be undone.
In both cases, acts of violence were committed in the name of ambition. There is no place for that in Canada.
Not then. Not now. Not ever.
Political Correctness undermines the peaceful “politics of grievance” of today’s Sikh Separatists
As seen in the lead-up to the Referendum 2020 campaign — a plebiscite for Sikhs on the issue of Sikh separatism — the “vast majority [of Sikhs] abhor that sort of violence and want nothing to do with it.” Therefore, blanketed statements made in a critique of the cause will serve to alienate Sikhs further, while failing to deal with the issue constructively.
Combating extremism is one thing, but conflating the violence of a few extremists with peaceful protesters is another thing entirely. Most in support of Khalistan today engage in peaceful protest to get their point across, not violence.
However, erasing Sikh extremism from the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada does little to tackle prejudice and misconceptions about Sikhs and Sikhism. Encouraging talks between Sikh-Canadians and others from the populace is vital, but efforts like those above come across as disingenuous.
Case in point, the Report, under ‘Part 1: The Current Terrorist Threat Environment’ states, “While attacks around the world in support of this movement have declined, support for the extreme ideologies of such groups remains. For example, in Canada, two organizations, Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation, have been identified as being associated with terrorism and remain listed terrorist entities under the Criminal Code.”
According to J.J. McCullough of the Washington Post, “There undeniably exist elements of Canada’s half-million-strong Sikh community who are apologists, enablers or outright supporters of [Khalistani] extremism. According to an intelligence assessment released by the Canadian Department of Public Safety in December, Sikh radicalism remains one of Canada’s top five flavours of homegrown terrorism, alongside Islamic radicalism and far-right fanaticism.”
As a possible amendment to the term “Sikh Terrorism,” perhaps the removal of “Sikh” with “Khalistani” would better reflect the nature of said extremism, which holds less basis in religion than it does in political ambition. Making the distinction between the Sikh faith and extremists who commit violence for political reasons as Sikhs are needed.
Indeed, a dose of political correctness is needed now and then. As a conservative, I see nothing wrong with that; however, the weaponizing of language, whether for reasons that are politically correct or otherwise, must be nipped in the bud.
While Khalistani extremism bears little threat to Canada’s national security today, the Liberal Party’s ploy to political correctness makes it harder “to call a threat what it is [making] it harder to identify and neutralize it,” says former Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyst Phil Gurski.
As stated in an op-ed by the Toronto Sun, “Identifying Sikh, Sunni, Shia and Islamist extremism does not mean all Sikhs and Muslims are extremists, just as identifying “white supremacists” doesn’t mean all whites are racists.”
Refuting the label of Khalistani extremism indicates Canada is about to embrace identity politics willfully, yet again.
With Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale apologizing for the offensiveness of the term, it’s rather unfortunate Canadian politics has gone down this rabbit hole in placating to minority lobby groups.
To quote John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
CPC MP Garnett Genuis demonstrates this to the tee in his defence of Khalistan advocates, who wish to carry out peaceful protests.
As a principled Burkean Conservative, and devout defender of the constitution, he illustrates the need to defend the rights and freedoms to all, fringe — but not terrorism — or otherwise.
Former Canadian Journalist Terry Milewski states, “Singh steadfastly refused to say a bad word — or any word — about it. You have to admit that’s a startling response to a very easy question.”
Attending pro-Separatist rallies is one thing, but refusing to denounce outright an act of terror is another thing entirely.
Today, the debate on Khalistan holds greater prominence in Canadian discourse, because we allowed it to happen — not because its extremist roots have been revived. Uninformed politicians continue to stoke the flames of division by their idiocy, where they view ethnic minorities as voting blocs, rather than as individuals from particular groups who hold differing political views.
Seriously? Have we learned nothing over our past run-ins with ethnic conflict?