Despite exhortation from India to act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to take action against a new wave of Khalistani activism in Canada.
Here is why.
Trudeau heads a minority government which is backed by the New Democratic Party (NDP), headed by Jagmeet Singh, an arch-Khalistani separatist.
Singh’s NDP has 24 seats in parliament, whose support is critical for the survival of the Trudeau government. The Canadian Prime Minister therefore cannot afford to antagonise Singh, because of the extraordinary leverage his NDP enjoys with the Liberals.
The results of the 2019 elections sealed the bonds between Singh and Trudeau. In the Canadian general election, Trudeau’s Liberal Party bagged 157 seats, the opposition Conservative 121, Bloc Quebecois 32, NDP 24, Green Party 3 and one Independent.
Trudeau therefore had to depend on the support of at least 13 legislators from his left-leaning rival parties to reach the magic 170 number mark to stay afloat.
After the elections Singh and Trudeau signed what has been dubbed as the confidence-and-supply agreement. This will remain in force till 2025.
So far Singh has remained Trudeau reliable partner. Recently when attacked by the opposition which wanted a probe into China’s suspected interference in Canada’s elections, Singh’s NDP backed Trudeau.
Secure with his backing from Trudeau, Singh has gone into overdrive against India, and in support of the Khalistani cause.
Unsurprisingly, as the heat turned on Khalistani separatist Amritpal Singh in Punjab, leading to temporary suspension of the internet in some districts, the Canadian lawmaker knocked on Trudeau’s door for support.
“I am calling on Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government to immediately contact their Indian counterparts to express concern regarding the suspension of civil liberties and the safety of Canadians abroad,” tweeted Singh.
In fact, the entire Khalistani network in Canada sprang into action.
For instance, Gurratan Singh, a former member of the provincial parliament, condemned the “repression” and said the whole world is watching. “Mass arrests of Sikh activists, shutdown of internet and text, crackdown on public gatherings, mass censorship of human rights media. Let the Indian government know that we condemn this repression,” he tweeted.
Now Gurratan Singh is no ordinary politician. He is Jagmeet Singh’s brother. Gurratan Singh was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 2018 provincial election. A member of the Ontario New Democratic Party, he represented Brampton East.
Earlier Jagmeet and Gurratan came up with guns blazing against the Narendra Modi government during the farmers agitation.
Singh shared the video of the speech made by him in the Ontario Assembly in a tweet posted by him.
“The Indian govt’s use of water cannons and tear gas on farmers protesting mass privatization of the agricultural sector and unjust reform of farming laws is appalling. They deserve respect for feeding the nation instead of being subjected to state brutality,” Singh tweeted along with the video of his speech in Ontario Assembly in November 2020.
According to a report in OpIndia, Indian intelligence agencies have suspected that Jagmeet Singh was not only sheltering pro-Khalistani sympathisers in Canada but also for leading an anti-Indian movement more vociferously in the Americas, especially after the abrogation of Article 370.
Singh has long been suspected of attempts to link Khalistani and Kashmiri separatism from his perch in Canada.
He is apparently connected with prominent Khalistani and Kashmiri separatist groups based in different countries of Europe, according to media reports.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)