India Concerned at Resurgence of 'Sikh Extremism' in Canada

July 31, 2007


Source: South Asian Focus

Indian officials led the list of those expressing concern at the alleged resurgence of Sikh extremism in Canada.

"I'm very glad the mainstream media is now taking note of what's happening," Indian High Commissioner R.L. Narayan told South Asian Focus.

Asked about Air India Flight 182, he said: "Canada is a democratic country-- as is India-- and I have every confidence the inquiry commission will reach the right conclusions."

He said any talk of separatism "has absolutely no traction in India. Things have long become normal; even at the recent Punjab elections it was the Congress that lost out while the Shiromani Akali Dal has now been ushered into power."

Asked about the portraits of some-- considered terrorists in India-- adorning the walls of several prominent gurdwaras which are visited by Canadian politicians, the career diplomat forebore a direct answer, but did allow: "It gives oxygen (to the movement)."

He however stressed the movement is restricted to only a "tiny fringe element" that is very vocal.

Added Satish Mehta, Indian consul-general: "The vast majority of the Sikh community in Canada is peace-loving and hard-working, who've built a great reputation through its industry and enterprise.

"There is a fringe within this Sikh community in Canada which supports extremist views. Unfortunately, these are said to exert influence over some gurdwaras. These are an affront to the peace-loving and hard-working Sikh community members."