OTTAWA, Canada—There have been reports of members of the Indian community in Canada being approached by men with links to the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, dissuading them from voting or supporting Jagmeet Singh’s leadership race for NDP party.
This appears to show India’s direct interference in the political process in Canada, attempting to work against Sikh members of parliament. The Canadian news outlet The Globe & Mail first published the revelation, and also reported that the Indian high commission refused numerous requests for comment on the matter.
Jagmeet Singh MPP, is currently a strong front runner in the NDP leadership in Canada and is seen as a high profile politician with far reaching success and support across Canada.
Unsurprisingly, however, he has been blacklisted from visiting India due to being a voice for human right’s abuses in India. He has often highlighted the severe persecution that minorities in India have had to suffer. The plight of Jains, Dalits, Muslims and Christians is similar to the experience of the Sikhs in Punjab, who have faced large scale torture and extra-judicial killings by the Indian government. Evidence of mass killings of male youth and discriminate policies against the people of Punjab have been widely reported by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, who have documented an exorbitant number of such cases. Ironically, India is sometimes described as the world’s largest democracy.
Jagmeet Singh fondly displays a very large painting of Harmandar Sahib, Amritsar (the Golden Temple), on his office wall in parliament building in Toronto, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. He says he emotionally views the painting daily, as he is currently unable to visit in person due to India’s ban on him travelling there.
India’s dubious accusations against Sikhs
Refusing entry to Sikhs like Jagmeet Singh for simply vocalizing criticism of India’s proven track record of abuse, simply further highlights, to countries like Canada, that India’s assertions against the Sikhs are highly questionable and casts a dark shadow on India’s approach to democratic values.
Strong indications of the Indian governments involvement in the bombing of a Canadian passenger plane in the 80s, which implicated many Sikh activists, was noted and recognized by the Canadian judiciary; so the lengths of India’s dangerous and underhanded deceptions are well known.
India’s efforts to attempt to interfere with Canadian politics against a Sikh MPP points further towards the lengths that India is prepared to go to undermine Sikhs, simply due to Sikhs being a strong voice of criticism against India’s record of abuse.
Only in the last few days, the Indian PM, Narendra Modi himself tried to sway the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, by making accusations against Sikh human rights organizations and activists by describing them as separatists and terrorists.
In the meantime, however, Jagmeet Singh’s popularity and supporter base grows as he receives more and more endorsements from politicians across Canada. He candidly acknowledges that his open minded and highly moralistic approach to politics is underpinned by his upbringing within the values of Sikhism.