In his bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland’s Davos, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of Khalistan and pro-Khalistani groups that are known to be active in Canada, Hindi daily Navbharat Times has reported.
Support for Khalistan has been on the rise with extremists organising multiple events across Canada to rally support for the movement in the past few years. Numerous pro-Khalistan groups in Canada are planning to hold what the call the ‘Punjab Independence Referendum’ in the year 2020.
In July 2016, India had raised the issue with Canada after Trudeau appeared in a Nagar Kirtan event in Toronto that featured Khalistani flags and posters of extremist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
On 30 April, Trudeau had addressed a parade for ‘Khalsa Day’, which included events glorifying Sikh militant leaders. Trudeau’s Liberal party has a number of influential figures belonging to separatist Sikh organisations as elected leaders.
Harinder Kaur Malhi, a legislator from Trudeau’s party, who had moved a resolution against India, to recognise the anti-Sikh riots of November 1984 as a genocide, was also felicitated during the parade. The resolution was passed by the Ontario Assembly on 6 April last year.
India had condemned the move, calling it a “misguided motion based on a limited understanding of India, its constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and its judicial process”. The issue was also raised with Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan during his visit to India the same month.
The issue could be raised again during Trudeau’s visit to India next month.