New Delhi: The resignation of Canadian Cabinet Minister Navdeep Singh Bains, who enjoys close connections with the Khalistani elements, has once again set-off the debate on Canada’s appeasement politics to foster Khalistani extremism. Observers of the Canadian politics have pointed out that Bains was promoted by the Khalistanis into the Canadian politics with the craving to get the support from the Canadian institutions.

His father has also been associated with Khalistani movement and is allegedly involved in radicalising the Canadian youth. The father-son duo has also exploited the institutional structure of the places of worship to make profits by bringing in illegal immigrants from India in the guise of religious preachers.

However, the case of this Canadian leader is not a unique one. Rather, there is a long list of Khalistan sympathisers in Canadian politics. A battery of prominent Canadian politicians are not only Khalistan sympathisers, rather, have themselves contributed to the anti-India Khalistani activities. New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh has been publicly refusing to condemn acts of violence by the Khalistanis. He has not only kept mum over extremist activities and refrained from denouncing Khalistanis, rather, he also triggered controversy after his close connections with Canadian rapper Chani Natt were revealed — an individual who was promoting the campaign for Khalistan by justifying violence through his songs. News platform Toronto Sun broke the story highlighting had personal relations with Jagmeet Singh and the leader, over the years , have been promoting the rapper.

The current Defence Minister of Canada, Harjit Singh Sajjan, is also believed to be connected to Khalistani elements and have been tacitly supporting their radical activities. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also went on to publicly call Sajjan a ‘Khalistani sympathiser’. Later in a different statement, Singh also urged the Indian government to impose sanctions on Canada for ‘overtly and covertly’ supporting Khalistani terrorists. He asked the government “to mount global pressure on Canada to put an end to the use of its soil to unleash terror against India, particularly the Sikh community being targeted by Khalistani terrorists.”

Interestingly, the leader at the top echelon of the Canadian democracy is also a precedence-setter in promoting the Khalistani terrorism. Shocking the counter-terrorism advocates, Justin Trudeau pressurized the Canadian administration to omit a reference to the Khalistani terrorists from the annual security report in 2018, wherein it was mentioned as one of the top five security concerns for Canada. Besides appeasing the radical elements and setting a felonious precedence, the decision was also a step towards subverting the democratic principles of Canada.

In a similar incident, in May 2016, Punjab’s police and intelligence agencies wrote to the Canadian government that a dreaded Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was running a terror camp near Mission city in British Columbia to train terrorists and plan attacks in Punjab. He was also working to arrange weapons from Pakistan and use them for terror attacks across India. However, his attempts were foiled due to beefed up security and high alert on the border in the wake of the Pathankot attack. According to other media reports that emerged during the same time, Pakistani ISI was working to whip us support to revitalise the Khalistani network in Canada.

Cracking a cruel joke on national security concerns of India, Nijjar was set free by the Canadian police within 24 hours after detainment in April 2018. Perhaps, this arrest was made only to wash away the allegations of turning an eye from the mushrooming terrorist groups in Canada and was an outcome of efforts made by the Indian authorities to repeatedly write to the Canada government to extradite him.

Canadian media reports highlight that the same set of Khalistanis have been clicked with the Canadian leaders as well as the Pakistani diplomats and Pakistani intelligence operatives. According to local sources, Khalistanis as well as anti-India Pakistanis collectively meet Asghar Ali Golo, Pakistan’s Consul General in Toronto, who convenes meetings of both the groups to launch protests in front of Indian diplomatic offices and coordinate strategies to fund extremist activities in Punjab. He was also pictured in a frame with Khalistani flag in the background and banners supporting the referendum — indeed a move to extend support with the Khalistani fringes.

In bids to create pressure over India, the Khalistanis, along with the Pakistanis launch violence protests as an everyday affair — a trend which is once again being noticed amidst the debate over farm bills in India. Extremists from both the groups are frequently launching aggressive protests against Indian diplomatic offices in Canada. The fact that Indian mission in Canada has asked for additional security arrangements now to ensure its safety from Khalistani-Pakistani combine itself underscores the deteriorating condition.

Reportedly, the Pakistani diplomats have been coordinating plans and helping the Khalistani terrorists logistically to work jointly with Pakistani intelligence agencies and Khalistani kingpins based in Pakistan. The Pakistani diplomatic Offices in Canada have created a channel for flawless movement of Khalistanis to and fro Pakistan. Two such terrorists Bhagat Singh Brar and Parvkar Singh Dulai were recently put in Canada’s no flying list after being frequently pressurised by the Indian government as they were travelling to Pakistan to meet terrorists from Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and other terror groups to strategize attacks on India. According to one of the reports in Canadian media, the supporting documents filed by the Canadian security agencies revealed that Brar was “promoting extremism, including the radicalisation of youth, with the aim of achieving Khalistan independence and attack planning and facilitation, including weapons procurement, to conduct attacks in India.”

In his report ‘Khalistan: A Project of Pakistan’ veteran journalist Terry Milewski has pointed out that after summoning up the monster of Khalistan in the 1970s, the Pakistani ISI is now working on a fresh impetus to fund and promote the radical movement. The idea is to promote a new separatist mindset amongst the Sikh youth in Punjab and all across the world. The report strikingly highlights how the Khalistani elements, despite playing at the hands of Pakistani intelligence agencies, have been continuously provided a safe passage by the Canadian authorities and leadership.

The competition between the Canadian politicians to project themselves being sympathetic to the Khalistani campaign reached to such an intense extent that they refrained from condemning the series of assassination attempts on a popular leader and a serving representative. The leaders claiming to champion the cause of human rights and civil liberties, failed to deplore or denounce the attacks on moderate Sikh leader from Vancouver, Ujjal Dosanjh, for taking a stand against the violence and secessionist movement promoted by the Khalistanis. Dosanjh nearly lost his life in one of the attacks in February 1985. Dosanjh, then an emerging leader, was attacked at his law office by an assassin with an iron bar. Having received 80 stitches and several bones being broken, the leader still managed to survive — only to face a series of physical assaults and death threats. Khalistanis also issued a threat to Dosanjh and Liberal party leader Dave Hayer on attending the annual Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey.

Both the leaders have been critical of the Khalistani violence and have been vocal against it. Earlier, quoting a police investigation, Dosanjh stated that Khalistanis organise events to promote violence under the cover of religious activities and quoted incidents of floating the picture of terrorists like Talwinder Singh Parmar — a terrorist involved in the 1985 Air India Bombing.

Sikhs unsympathetic to the Khalistani utopia have been highlighting that extremists radicalise youth by valourising dreaded terrorists during congregations organised under the garb of religious get-togethers. Attendees also join these events with posters of terrorists and t-shirts of proscribed outfits like the BKI and International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF). It is ridiculous to note that besides many other Western countries, these two organizations have been banned by the Canadian government as well. However, the government provides cover to the fringe elements from these organizations even after noticing their activities with naked eyes.

Several terrorists alleged of carrying out violent attacks are still roaming free and enjoy a comfortable life in Canada. The list also includes a number of those connected to the 1985 Air India bombing in which 329 individuals, mostly Canadian citizens, were killed. The findings of the John Major Commission on 1985 Air India bombing highlighted the failure and inactivity of the Canadian government against the Khalistanis operating from the country. The Commission had highlighted that Canada was tacitly supporting these elements and commented –“Despite the principal  conspirators being put under surveillance before the bombing , their conversations recorded ,their  acquisition and testing of explosives witnessed by state agents and ample and repeated warnings that they intended to bomb a specific flights, Canadian agencies failed to act at each stage and at a scale that cannot be explained away as mere errors , but that appears to have the taint of intentional negligence, if not collusion.”

Supporting terrorists by the state establishments is not a new phenomenon in Canada. Rather, experts and non profits have been pointing fingers on Canada to allow terrorism to breed and support the radical elements due to vote bank politics. An article by the Global News had mentioned,  “Canada has a secret program that allows it to harbour terrorists.” It further highlights that in April 2015, the country provided visa to a top Egyptian militant Khaled Saber Abdel-Hamed Zahw, who made an assassination attempt on the then President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The report further argued — “Canada allows certain high-profile foreign nationals who would otherwise be barred from entering the country due to national security concerns, war crimes, human rights violations and organised crimes.”

In the past few years, Canada has also emerged to be the hotspot where all the Khalistani terrorists, including those from proscribed ones, from all over the world converge together. According to a couple of responses on information request, Canada has emerged as an international lobbying centre for Khalistanis. The Canadian government should come forward and answer on the list of burning questions including — who allows them visa? Aren’t they subject to security clearance by Canadian agencies? Why are the leaders eager to meet them? Why are they allowed to lobby for the proscribed groups? And there is a long list.

Canada has become a seedbed for Khalistanis – watered by the Canadian government and nurtured by the ISI. Observers suggest that the lust for Khalistani votes is a nine days wonder and is soon going to inflict severe blows to the Canadian society. Besides damaging Canada’s reputation at the global fora, these elements pose a massive threat to the innocent Canadians. Given the fact that India is efficiently handling the Khalistani issue and the campaign has subsided therein, it is a matter of choice for Canada — whether to water it or to wither it away.