Will Dropping of Direct Reference to Sikh or Khalistani Extremism Matter? | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

Will Dropping of Direct Reference to Sikh or Khalistani Extremism Matter?

Published Apr 15, 2019
Updated Apr 18, 2020

In the April 12, 2019, “Update on 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada” issued by the Ministry of Public Safety of Canada, the words Sikh Extremism have been substituted by, “Extremists who Support Violent Means to Establish an Independent State Within India.”

The reasons for the same have been stated in the opening statement of the Report as “in outlining a threat, it must be clearly linked to an ideology rather than a community”.

The statement goes on to add that the Government must select the terminology that focuses on the intent and ideology and with this in view, “as a first step, the Government will use the term: Extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India; rather than terminology that unintentionally impugns an entire religion”.

Ironically the Report has identified, “Sunni Islamist Extremism,” and, “Shia Extremism,” amongst the five current threats to Canada, apparently violating the principles that have been set by it in the first place – of not impugning a religion.

In the previous version of the Report there were, “eight references to Sikh extremism and organisations and six references to Khalistan, the so-called homeland sought by some radical groups,” as per a the Print.

While the opening statement of the Report does highlight that the renaming of Sikh Extremism is, “a first step,” this has invited adverse comments from both sides of the spectrum of Sikh extremism.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh who has been raising concerns of Sikh separatist extremism and has gone to the extent of criticizing the Indian government for opening of the Kartarpur Singh Sahib corridor was critical of Trudeau as per India Today which quotes- “The Trudeau government has taken this decision under political pressure and is targeted to woo Sikhs in the election year. Trudeau is playing with fire as the decision will hit Indo-Canadian ties. Removal of Sikh extremism will also pose a threat to India’s national security.”

On the other hand Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser of the Pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has called upon Trudeau to step down for  using the Sikh community in Canada as a vote bank for fund collection as the review of the report came just a day before he participated in the Baisakhi Celebrations in Canada.

Pannun accused Trudeau of , “practicing the politics of expediency”.

Selective dropping of religion for the Sikh or Khalistani terrorism while continuing with the same for Islamic – separately as Shia and Sunni Terror has exposed the Trudeau government for political expediency as well as ignoring threat to India’s sovereignty emanatiing from Sikh extremists based in Canada and the issue is likely to remain critical in India Canada relations in the days ahead.