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Khalistan: It’s That Smell Again

This time, New Delhi had to contend with the stink emanating all the way from two separate nations that make up North America.
Trudeau at a Khalistani event
Justin Trudeau at the Khalsa Divas event in Toronto

Like a bad odour that continues to linger even after the room has been aired and sanitised, Khalistan keeps cropping up in our news feeds every now and then.

This time, New Delhi had to contend with the stink emanating all the way from two separate nations that make up North America.

One was from Canada, whose vapid Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised hackles in Delhi once again by gracing a so-called Khalsa Day event in Toronto on Sunday, where pro-Khalistani-slogans were repeatedly and loudly raised. This is the same Trudeau who during the G20 summit in Delhi last September publicly accused India of being behind the killing of a Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Surrey, Ontario.

When asked to prove it, he mumbled something about “credible allegations” before sulking like an errant schoolboy, refusing to attend the dinner hosted by the president of India, and trying to leave in a hurry, although even that was botched due to glitches with his aircraft.

The other malodour came from the venerable Washington Post, which apparently revels in running India down. This time, it ran a story based on sources which essentially names a few people, serving and retired, from Indian intelligence agencies who it says are behind attempts to kill another Khalistani separatist dog whistler, New York-based lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. Pannun heads a shady pro-Khalistan outfit called Sikhs for Justice, of which Gujjar was also a member.

Claiming that its exclusive report “provide(s) the most explicit evidence to date that the assassination plan…was directed from within the Indian spy service,” the article then cites unnamed CIA officials as saying that by implication, India’s NSA Ajit Doval and perhaps even Prime Minister Narendra Modi were involved in the plot to take out Pannun. And then coyly admits that so far, there’s no “smoking gun” evidence to prove this.

Similarly, seven months after Trudeau’s charge, there’s been no shred of evidence offered.

Funnily enough, both Ontario and Washington have publicly asked New Delhi to help prove them right.

Trudeau – who clearly suffers from chronic foot in mouth disease— is propped up by support from the New Democratic Party led by Jagmeet Singh, a known India baiter who makes no attempt to hide his links with violent Khalistani extremists.

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And to be fair to Trudeau, it wasn’t just him, but Canadian politicians of every hue — including Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre who was recently ejected from the lower house for calling Trudeau a “wacko” — were in attendance at the Khalsa event. Apparently, they believe that Khalistanis represent the majority of hard-working Sikhs in Canada.

Obviously they haven’t seen the Pew Research poll in 2021 which showed that “Sikhs also are overwhelmingly proud of their Indian identity. A near-universal share of Sikhs say they are very proud to be Indian [95 per cent], and the vast majority [70 per cent] say a person who disrespects India cannot be a Sikh”.

The survey, titled “Religion in India“, and conducted between late 2019 and early 2020, also found that 93% of Punjabi Sikhs are proud to live in the state, and most do not see evidence of widespread discrimination against their community. Only 14% of Sikhs felt they faced discrimination in India, and 18% said they faced religious discrimination the previous year.

As for the US of A, whose motto clearly is “Do as I say, not as I do”, it is pertinent to note that these charges come at a time when India is in the midst of parliamentary elections.

Perhaps, despite all the hoopla about India being a major strategic partner and inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a state visit to Washington, there are still elements in the Democratic administration that haven’t gotten over Modi’s “abki bar Trump Sarkar” remark after a glowing tribute to the then president during his ‘Howdy Houston‘ rally in September 2019.

In the case of Trudeau, knowing that the chances of him surviving next year’s election are bleak at best, New Delhi summoned and hauled the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner over the coals, described the shouting of pro-Khalistani and secessionist slogans at the event that was personally addressed by Trudeau as “disturbing”, and said it illustrated once again the political space that has been given in Canada to “separatism, extremism and violence”.

But what should India do about the American accusations?

Precisely what it has already done, which is to raise the diplomatic middle finger and politely announce that it is “looking into the issue.”