KHALISTAN: PM Stephen Harper says he won’t ‘interfere’ with political rights of Canadian Sikh separatists

Published: November 8, 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits the Sikh temple of Sri Keshgarh Sahib Gurdwara in Anandpur Sahib, India on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

MARK KENNEDY
POSTMEDIA NEWS

BANGALORE, India — Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday he won’t “interfere” with the political rights of Canadian Sikhs who advocate a separate state in India — even though his government firmly opposes the idea.

However, Harper indicated the Conservative government would take action if it detects that those Sikhs turn to violence to advance their cause.

At a news conference as he neared the end of his visit to India, Harper was asked if he thinks Sikh extremism is a problem in Canada and, if so, what he is doing to stop it.

The question came after Harper was dogged by the politically sensitive issue during his trip because senior leaders in the India government called on him to quell the rise of “anti-India rhetoric” in Canada.

They were referring to a small group of Sikhs who are advocating the creation of a separate state — Khalistan — in India.

“The government is completely supportive of the unity of India,” said Harper. “The government of Canada and I believe the vast majority of Canadian people, including the vast majority of Indo-Canadians, have no desire to see the revival of old hostilities in this great country, here in India.”

Harper added that his government monitors “extreme developments — those who may embrace violence or threats of violence or terrorism.”

“We watch these things very closely and we work very closely with our partners in the government of India.”

However, the prime minister said “that obviously cannot be confused with peoples’ right in Canada to advocate a political position.”

“It may be a political position that both the government of Canada and the government of India disagree with. We can’t interfere with the right of political freedom of expression.”

Harper has walked a tightrope during the trip — declaring earlier this week that Canada stands for a “united India,” but also visiting a cherished Sikh temple in the Punjab region to pay his respects to Indians of that faith.

After visiting the temple on Wednesday, Harper brushed aside questions from Canadian journalists about whether there is Sikh extremism in Canada, merely saying the Indian government “knows our position.”

On Thursday morning, an Indian newspaper, the Tribune, reported that Harper had said at one point during his Punjabi visit: “We are committed not to permit any secessionist activities on our soil.”

Harper’s aides denied the report Thursday, and insisted he did not say those words.

Later in the day, when questioned at the news conference, Harper appeared keen to clarify where he stands.

During his trip, Harper met many of the Indian government’s leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Singh said the countries “have similar concerns in combating terrorism, extremism and radicalism.”

Preneet Kaur, the country’s minister of state for external affairs, complained about the “revival of anti-India rhetoric in Canada.”


PM Stephen Harper in India


Picture 1 of 6

Prime Minister Stephen Harper inspects the Honour Guard as he arrives to Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace) for the official welcoming ceremony in New Dehli, India on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press


Tags: , ,





Featured

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »

India-surgery

Doctors remove unborn child’s skeleton from woman’s womb after 36 years

VANCOUVER DESI In an unusual surgery, doctors in India removed the skeleton of an unborn baby from its mother’s womb after 36 years, the Press…
Continue Reading »

Sikh-Ontario

Turbaned Sikhs will not be allowed to ride motorbike without a helmet in Ontario

THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she won’t allow for turban-wearing Sikhs to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. In…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »

Sikh-Ontario

Turbaned Sikhs will not be allowed to ride motorbike without a helmet in Ontario

THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she won’t allow for turban-wearing Sikhs to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. In…
Continue Reading »

Annu Gaidhu

Mississauga beauty Annu Gaidhu crowned Miss India Canada (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Mississauga’s Annu Gaidhu was crowned Miss India-Canada at the 24th annual pageant in Toronto Saturday evening. The 23-year-old yoga instructor and aspiring child…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Jewellery

Treasure hunter finds 50 pieces of jewellery on Mont Blanc from 1966 Air India crash (w/video)

VANCOUVER DESI A French treasure hunter has found 50 pieces of jewellery, including bracelets and necklaces on Mont Blanc belonging to passengers of an Air…
Continue Reading »

Toilets-Narendra Modi

Six Indian brides leave in-laws’ homes over lack of toilets

IANS Lucknow – Six newly-wed women in Uttar Pradesh walked out of their in-laws’ homes rather than walk into the fields to ease themselves. Taking…
Continue Reading »

Woman with beard UK

Love thyself: Sikh woman appears in photography exhibition celebrating best beards

IANS London – Appearing in a photography exhibition celebrating the world’s best facial hair, a British Sikh woman, who has grown a beard for seven…
Continue Reading »

racist

York University students condemn ‘blatantly racist flyers’ that surfaced around campus

VANCOUVER DESI York University students condemned “blatantly racist flyers” that surfaced around the university campus and surrounding areas last week. The university has been pulling…
Continue Reading »

A U.s. morgue attendant admitted to having sex with 100 corpses while high on drugs and alcohol.  File/ARLEN REDEKOP / PROVINCE

U.S. morgue attendant admits having sex with 100 women’s corpses

IANS New York – An morgue attendant in the US state of Ohio has admitted to having sex with up to 100 corpses, media reported….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood actor

Ranbir Kapoor teams up with online digital music company Saavn

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood heart-throb Ranbir Kapoor has joined hands with Saavn, a US-based digital music company known as the leader in digital streaming for…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Rani Mukerji prays at famous Kalighat temple in Kolkata, urges women to be brave

IANS Kolkata – Days ahead of her next release “Mardaani”, Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji Tuesday sought blessings at the famed Kalighat temple here for the…
Continue Reading »

India censor board

India’s chief film censor arrested for allegedly taking bribes for film certificates

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — Police say they have arrested the head of India’s film censorship board for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for…
Continue Reading »