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Sikh Extremism Rising In Canada - Dosanjh


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
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‘Sikh extremism rising in Canada’

‘Sikh extremism rising in Canada’

A former Canadian cabinet minister and one-time provincial premier warned on Thursday that Sikh extremism -- blamed for the 1985 Air India bombing – is rising in this country.

"It's getting worse," opposition Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, who is himself Sikh, said.

"It's more entrenched, it's more sophisticated and sometimes it's double-faced," he said in an interview.

His comments echo concerns reportedly expressed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper over growing support by Canadian Sikhs for militants in Punjab. The two leaders spoke on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last week.

They also come after a riot at a Sikh temple in Brampton, Ontario over proposed management changes, and after organizers of an annual Sikh festival in Surrey, British Columbia warned Dosanjh and another Canadian Sikh politician, both known for their moderate views, not to attend a parade.

Dosanjh, a former premier of British Columbia province and federal health minister from 2004 to 2006, blamed Canada's vaunted multiculturalism in part for the rise of extremism, saying it allowed ethnic communities including Sikhs to insulate themselves, nurture hatred and pass it on to next generations. At the same time, Canada has failed to instill its own values on new immigrants, said Dosanjh, pointing to several ethnic groups in Canada harbouring grudges for past injustices abroad.

"We now have second and third generation youth whose minds are being poisoned," he said.

And the militancy is far worse than a generation ago when Sikh extremists blew up Air India Flight 182 off the coast of Ireland in 1985, killing 329 passengers and crew, he said.

Prosecutors argued that Canadian Sikh extremists had sought to bring down Air India jets in retaliation for the Indian government's June 1984 attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sikhism's holiest shrine.

Two baggage handlers at Japan's Narita airport were also killed in the blast of a second suitcase bomb tied to the plot.

Ironically, said Dosanjh, the Khalistan movement to carve out a Sikh nation "in India survived for three or four or five years because people were angry, but now it's gone. The prime minister of India now is a Sikh."

"We should be concerned about what happens abroad, but not in an obsessive way that perpetuates itself" and "promotes hatred," he said.

"Ultimately you have to begin to worry about Canadian issues, or issues abroad that impact Canada.

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