On Christmas Eve, a Khalistani activist held an event in Brampton and gave an award to Pakistan’s Army Chief, Qamar Jawed Bajwa.
The award was given to celebrate the creation of a Sikh religious site on the India – Pakistan border. The location is also where the controversial organization Sikhs for Justice hopes to hold a conference and referendum next year to further the cause of Khalisani independence.
The Khalistan movement is a separatist faction of Sikhs who hope to carve out an independent Sikh ethnostate from the Punjab region of India. The movement has been responsible for several terrorist attacks in India and around the world, and dates back to sectarian violence between Sikhs and Hindus in the early 1970s.
At the height of tensions in India, Khalisani terrorists — led by mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar — carried out the 1985 Air India bombing which killed 329 people, including 268 Canadians.
It remains the deadliest terrorist attack in Canadian history.
The man who presented the award in Brampton, Sukhminder Singh Hansra, is a pro-Khalistan activist based in Canada. The award was accepted on Bajwa’s behalf by Toronto Pakistani consul general Imran Ahmed Siddiqui.
True North contacted Mr. Hansra to comment on his views about Khalistani independence and whether he saw himself as a Khalistani activist.
“I am (an) activist for the rights of minorities, including but not limited to Sikhs. Do consider me a Khalistani Activists (sic),” Hansra said in an email. “Khalistan is a land occupied by India. Sikhs came to realize it in 1984, since then a movement to liberate the occupied land is on. I advocate it.”
Pakistan and its intelligence service, the Inter-services Intelligence, are believed to be funding and supporting a new push for Khalistani independence in an attempt to destabilize India.
The latest terrorism report released by the federal department of Public Safety on December 11th listed Sikh and Khalistani extremism as a persisting national threat.
“Sikh (Khalistani) extremism also remain[s] of concern because while their attacks in Canada have been extremely limited, some Canadians continue to support these extremist groups, including through financing.”
Upon its release, the report caused a stir within the Liberal caucus when the Canadian Sikh Association called for all Sikh MPs to step down because of the government included a section on Khalistani extremism — a well-known and well-documented concern in Canada.
Liberal MP Randeep Sarai from Surrey Centre wrote a letter to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale condemning him for the inclusion and urging him to remove it.
Former British Columbia Premier and Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh expressed outrage when he heard about Liberal MPs calling for the removal of “Sikh terrorism” from the document.
“There is rot in Parliament. This is Trumplike. Questioning your own intelligence community,” he said in a tweet.
Randeep Sarai is also the MP who took the fall for inviting convicted Sikh terrorist Jaspal Atwal to a dinner with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his ill-fated India trip last year, a story first reported by True North founder Candice Malcolm.
Atwal is a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) and was convicted of attempting to assassinate an Indian government official on Vancouver Island in 1986.
Two Khalistani organizations, Babbar Khalsa and ISYF are listed terrorist or terrorist-affiliated entities under the Canadian criminal code.