HomeLatest News‘We will protect your freedom,’ Canada PM Trudeau tells Sikhs amid pro-Khalistan slogans

‘We will protect your freedom,’ Canada PM Trudeau tells Sikhs amid pro-Khalistan slogans

LONDON/TORONTO: Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has assured nearly a million Canadians of Sikh heritage that his government will always be there to protect their rights and freedom, as tens of thousands raised slogans in support of Khalistan before the former on the occasion of Khalsa Day in Toronto.

In the videos released by Sikh groups, chants of “Khalistan Zindabad” and tribute to “Shaheed Hardeep Singh Nijjar” can be heard during the speech of PM Trudeau who looked on whilst a charged congregation of Sikhs raised slogans.

Pro-Khalistan slogans were also raised in the presence of opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow and prominent Canadian Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh, chief of the New Democratic Party. All of them spoke to the Sikh crowd.

Trudeau told the crowd: “The story of the Sikh community in Canada is, in fact, the story of Canada…To the nearly 800 thousand Canadians of Sikh heritage across this country, we will always be there to protect your rights and your freedom, and we will always defend your community against hatred and discrimination.”

The Canadian PM also said the country is enhancing the security and infrastructure programmes by “adding more security at community centres and places of worship, including Gurdwaras.”

“Your right to practice your religion freely, and without intimidation is exactly that. A fundamental right guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that we will always stand up and defend you for,” Trudeau assured the Sikh community in his Khalsa Day address in reference to the attacks Canadian Sikhs from the Indian govt.

He said, “Vaisakhi brings together friends and family. I know that many of you have loved ones who you want to see more often. That’s why, our government has negotiated a new agreement with India to add more flights and more routes between our countries. And we will keep working with our counterparts to add even more flights, including to Amritsar.”

Thousands of Sikhs reached Toronto for one of the biggest yearly gatherings in the city. Vaisakhi, which is also called Khalsa Day, celebrates the founding of the Sikh community in 1699. It is also the Sikh New Year.

Trudeau’s remarks come at a time when the diplomatic relations between India and Canada are on the rocks after the assassination of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and Khalistan Referendum’s Canadian head Hardeep Singh Nijjar by the Indian state agents last year and an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the SFJ founder who is both Canadian and American national. Nijjar was killed as he came out of a Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on the evening of June 18, 2023.

Trudeau on September 18, 2023, told the Canadian House of Commons that Canadian security agencies had been actively pursuing “credible allegations of a potential link” between agents of the Government of India and the killing of Nijjar. The PM has been consistent in his condemnation of Indian-sponsored terrorism, mainly on Canadian soil.

The Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) says it is clear Nijjar was killed by the Indian govt for running the successful Khalistan Referendum campaign in various Canadian states, attended by tens of thousands of Sikhs in a huge show of opposition to India and for the creating of Khalistan.

In November last year, the United States (US) authorities thwarted an Indian conspiracy to assassinate a pro-Khalistan leader of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) Mr Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil and issued a warning to India’s government over concerns it was involved in the plot. The US federal prosecutors have filed a sealed indictment against at least one perpetrator of the plot in a New York district court.

Washington shared details of the Pannun case with a wider group of allies after Trudeau went public with details of the Vancouver killing, the combination of which sparked concern among allies about a possible pattern of behaviour.

US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen also said in September that Ottawa received information about the Vancouver case of Nijjar from the intelligence-sharing network “Five Eyes”, which comprises the US, United Kingdom (UK), Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The Khalistan Referendum voting campaign is being organised under the supervision of the independent Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC).

The voting started on October 31, 2021, from London — UK and have so far been held in several cities across Britian, Geneva Switzerland, Rome and Milan (Italy), Australian cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney; and Canadian cities of Brampton, Mississauga, Malton (Ontario), Vancouver (British Columbia) and two states of the US.

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