A Sikh-Indian politician and the Chief Minister of the Punjab region, Amarinder Singh has accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of attempting to pander for votes after removing reference to “Sikh extremism” from the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada.
Sikh extremists includes Khalistani separatists who hope to establish an ethnic state in the Punjab region of India through violent means.
During his disastrous 2018 trip to India, Justin Trudeau was questioned by Minister Amarinder Singh on how his government would curb the threat of Sikh extremism.
During the trip, members of the Trudeau government were accused of sharing sympathies with Khalistani extremists, especially once their credibility was challenged after inviting an attempted Sikh assassin, Jaspal Atwal to a Canadian government dinner in the country.
“It is obvious that Trudeau had played safe in view of the upcoming elections in Canada, giving in to pressure within his country,” said Singh. “The world cannot afford to fan extremism in any form, which is what the Trudeau government was effectively doing with such ill-thought moves.”
The report originally listed Khalistani and Sikh extremism as a persisting and national-scale 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,” read the original document.
Currently, the updated report no longer includes any reference to the religions of the extremist groups but instead refer to them as “some individuals [who] continue to support violent means to establish an independent state within India.”
The document was changed after a review by the Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, despite the references to some of Canada’s biggest terror attacks inspired by Sikh terrorism, including the Air India 182 bombings which claimed the lives of 268 Canadians.
The federal Liberals faced pressure from the Sikh community and members of their own caucus to change the wording in the report. Members of the Canadian Sikh Association called for all MPs following the religion to step down after the report was released.
Surrey Centre Liberal MP Randeep Sarai, also criticized Prime Minister Trudeau for the decision and called for him to remove it, despite being the individual responsible for the invitation of Atwal, as reported by True North’s Candice Malcolm.
Although references to the ideology have been removed from the report, several groups beholden to the Sikh extremism are still listed as terrorist entities on the Public Safety Canada website, including: Babbar Khalsa and the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF).