In response to explicit threats by Sikh For Justice (SFJ) extremist Gurpatwant Pannun against Air India on November 19 and escalating hate crimes targeting Indian Canadians and Hindus in Canada, a panel convened by the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) has called for the inclusion of Pannun and SFJ members on the no-fly list.
During the “Indians in Canada under Threat of Terror & Hate Crimes” event, organized by FIIDS, Sukhi Chahal expressed gratitude for attendees and underscored the importance of sustained discussions to foster peace between Hindus and Sikhs. Chahal criticized false narratives propagated by individuals like Gurpatwant Pannun, emphasizing that historical animosity was fueled by both British and Congress Party actions among Hindus and Sikhs.
Chahal rebuked Khalistani groups, particularly SFJ, asserting their distorted narrative does not represent Sikhs at large. Emphasizing collective responsibility, Chahal urged dismantling this narrative and engaging with the silent Sikh community, acknowledging the influence of well-funded fake Khalistanis supported by Western states. In a recent report on Global Strat View, the US State Department was asked about the threats issued by Pannun, to which a spokesperson from DoS stated, “Violence, or the threat of violence, is never an acceptable form of activism.”
Ruchi Walia from Pickering, Canada, stressed the unity of Hindus and Sikhs, highlighting concerns about the radicalization of Sikh youth through the dissemination of incorrect historical information. The growing Khalistani extremism has been a cause of concern in the Diaspora across North America. A gurudwara in the suburb of Washington D.C. has been in the news for displaying Khalistani flags on its premises. Political rallies in the Washington D.C area, often calling for a separatist state of Khalistan, are organized from this Gurudwara.
Panel moderator Khanderao Kand accused Canadian PM Justin Trudeau of misrepresenting freedom of expression as freedom of terror. Kand highlighted Trudeau’s allegations against India for the killing of extremist Nijjar, linking them to rising anti-Indian and anti-Hindu crimes in Canada.
Vijay Jain, spokesperson for Canadian Hindus for Harmony, emphasized the need for community and political engagement, noting that radicals, though smaller, pose a threat to peace and harmony by suppressing moderate voices.
Mohan Sonti, an analyst from FIIDS, traced the current threats to Indians in Canada, particularly from Khalistani terrorists, back approximately 45 years to former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Sonti accused Trudeau of contributing to the growth of Khalistani terrorism, citing the 1985 Kanishka Air India bombing. This devastating act of terrorism resulted in the deaths of approximately 330 people. The bombing was a tragic chapter in the Khalistani movement, underscoring the urgency of addressing the current threats. Sonti alleged ongoing support for Khalistani terrorists by successive Canadian governments, including PM Justin Trudeau, who openly aligns with Khalistani elements. The panel questioned why Gurpatwant Pannun and SFJ members are not on the no-fly list despite their threats to Air India, alluding to the Kanishka bombing.
Rohit Sharma is a Senior Journalist who has lived in Washington DC since 2007. He currently is a contributor to Dainik Bhaskar, the world's third largest newspaper by readership. His opinion pieces feature on News 9 and The Quint. He has been invited as guest on the BBC, NDTV, India Today, AajTak, Times Now, Republic, Zee news and others. His work has featured in six Indian Languages.