Sikh Separatist Claims ‘Australia is Next’ After Canada Assassination

Tue Sep 19 2023
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CANBERRA: Australia has expressed “deep concern” regarding the allegations made by Canada regarding the assassination of a Sikh leader, stating that it values the Indian diaspora as important contributors to its multicultural society.

A spokesperson for Foreign Minister Penny Wong said, “Australia is “deeply concerned” about the charges made by Canada. The Indian diaspora is a valued and significant contributor to our vibrant and resilient multicultural society, where all Australians can express their views in peace and safety,” says the statement.

The country has conveyed these concerns to India and emphasized the importance of allowing all Australians to express their views peacefully.

However, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a leader of the Khalistan movement, claimed that peaceful protests in Australia have been disrupted, quasi-referendums blocked, and demonstrators intimidated by Indian government supporters. Pannun alleged that Australia is the next target for Indian agents.

The Indian High Commission in Canberra had nothing further to add to the statement issued by New Delhi in response to these claims.

In May, Blacktown City Council canceled a Khalistan event due to security concerns, and Indian government supporters claimed a Hindu temple in Rosehill had been vandalized with anti-Indian messages. They also alleged that they had been attacked by pro-Khalistan supporters who put up posters with “wanted” signs for Indian diplomats.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who has been declared a terrorist by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, challenged India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. He argued that India is not a country but a union of states, and the people of Punjab should have the right to vote on their status.

Prime Minister Trudeau raised these allegations directly with Prime Minister Modi during the G20 meeting in Delhi, emphasizing that any involvement of a foreign government in killing a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of sovereignty.

Pannun, who runs the Sikhs For Justice campaign from exile in the United States, expressed concern about the threats faced by Sikhs in India and dismissed claims that he was leading a group of violent extremists. He asserted that their campaign was peaceful and democratic.

Sikhs comprise a significant diaspora population in Canada and Australia, and tensions between Sikhs and Hindus have historical roots in religious differences, political events, and agricultural disputes in Punjab.

Australia has been working to manage the situation, balancing concerns over temple vandalism with the rights of Sikhs to protest. At the same time, India has urged Australia to take firmer action against such incidents.

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