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Despite our positive contributions, we don’t feel safe in Canada: Hindus to Trudeau

Toronto, March 29: Urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep Canada free from “the glorification of terrorism”, a prominent Hindu advocacy group in the country said on Friday that Ottawa’s current political discourse regarding India’s alleged interference in the country further emboldens extremist elements.

In a letter addressed to PM Trudeau, the Hindu Forum Canada (HFC) said that despite the community’s positive contributions, they don’t feel safe in the country and their concerns have remained “unaddressed”.

“…we don’t feel safe in Canada. Our community expresses deep concern about our safety and security amidst the ongoing political controversies surrounding alleged foreign (India) interference in Canada,” HFC said in its letter.

“We, as Canadian Hindus, are deeply troubled by the remarks of organisations such as Sikhs for Justice and its leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun… Regrettably, our concerns have not been addressed by Canadian authorities,” the letter, written on behalf of Hindus in the country, added.

Pannun, declared a ‘designated individual terrorist’ in 2020 by New Delhi, has stepped up his anti-India rhetoric following the death of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey last year.

He has asked Canadian Hindus to leave the country followed by threats to disrupt Air India flights from Canada to India even as extremist elements targetted Hindu temples and Indian Mission with pro-Khalistan graffiti and anti-PM Modi slogans.

PM Trudeau’s September last year claim on the role of Indian agents in the killing of a “Canadian citizen on Canadian soil” has further emboldened the stance of Pannun and other extremist groups operating in the country.

“The current political discourse regarding India’s alleged interference in Canada exacerbates the situation, further emboldening extremist elements,” the letter read.

Additionally, HFC has “advised the Canadian government against interfering in Indian democracy through ill-considered statements, yet such actions persist”.

India has categorically denied “baseless” allegations levelled by the Canadian agencies of ‘interference’ in their elections and inturn blamed Canada for interfering in New Delhi’s affairs.

The group said that the Hindu community is dismayed by the misrepresentation of a proposed motion — M-112 — by MP Sukh Dhaliwal, “which has left a lingering dissatisfaction among community members.”

The motion names India, China, Russia, Iran, and a few other countries for political interference, violence, and intimidation on Canadian soil.

The passage of such a motion sets a “dangerous precedent” where mere allegations are legitimised by the Canadian Parliament, spelling trouble for Hindus and the broader Canadian population.

“It is both disappointing and concerning that the current Liberal government appears to struggle with distinguishing between evidence-based claims and unfounded allegations,” HFC told Trudeau.

Further, it said that the actions of Dhaliwal appear motivated more by a “political strategy aimed at garnering support within anti-Hindu and anti-Indian communities than by a genuine commitment to fostering peace or understanding of the matter.”

Hinduism is the third-largest religion in Canada, which is followed by approximately 2.3 per cent of the country’s total population. As of 2021, there are over 830,000 Canadians of the Hindu faith.

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