India has protested the participation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at ‘Khalsa Day’ in Toronto that saw felicitation of Sikh separatist elements and featured Khalistani flags and posters of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Mr. Trudeau has become the first Canadian PM to attend the ‘Khalsa Day’ event in a decade since Paul Martin in 2005. The Khalsa Day event was organised to mark the Sikh new year.
The parade organised by the Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwara Council felicitated two legislators, who had authored a motion in the Ontario Assembly calling the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “genocide”. The resolution was passed by the Ontario Assembly on April 6. India had issued its strong protest against the passage of the motion (34-5) terming it as a misguided motion based on a limited understanding of India. Indian government had also expressed its reservations and concerns during the meeting between Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on April 18.
Also in the event, Sikh militant leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Amreek Singh and former General Shahbeg Singh who were killed in Operation Bluestar in June 1984 were also glorified.
The issues over the growth of Khalistani groups in Canada is likely to be discussed during Mr. Trudeau’s expected visit to India late this year or early next year.