No doubt the freedom of expression is one of the most precious basic human rights; unluckily there are a very few countries where the people enjoy this basic human right; Canada is surely one of those fortunate countries.
The Canadian Constitution guarantees not only freedom of expression but also freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief, opinion, expression to the people living there.
Moreover it also guarantees the right to equal protection and benefit of the law without any discrimination to the followers of all religions.
Different religious groups are never asked to register themselves but some groups get them registered so that they may receive tax-exempt status.
According to the Wikipedia all Canadians are free to have their own beliefs and opinions, to practise religion or refrain from it, and are free to establish media organizations with or without religious content.
Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of the Allah Almighty and the rule of law.
The basic principle around which the whole social system there revolves is that law should govern a nation.
These are the reasons that at present Canada is closer to the hearts of the Sikh community than India which is the ‘home-town’ of more than 28 million Sikhs.
In Canada, there live more than one million Sikhs whereas the total population of Sikh community is somewhere around 30 million.
The remaining one million are scattered in different parts of world. The Sikh community has been demanding a separate homeland for last many decades because a handful of Hindu extremist element has deprived them of all basic human rights.
They are unsafe, their Gurdwaras are unsafe and even their whole future is unsafe at hands of those extremists.
They need a separate homeland where they could live according to their own will and desire.
They have been demanding secession of Punjab from India and formulation of a separate homeland for the Sikh community.
Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) is a US-based organization which is at present the most prominent organization striving and struggling for an independent Sikh land.
Last month, on 19 September a referendum for the independent Sikh land Khalistan was organized by the SFJ in Brampton, Canada.
The Sikh community from all over the world stood by the side of the organizers of this referendum but unfortunately, the BJP government did all its best to create hurdles in the way to that referendum.
According to different media reports, the BJP government had many times urged the government of Canada to put a strict check on the leaders of the Khalistan Movement in Canada but the Canadian government always plainly refused to do so.
The Canadian government is of the opinion that it would never put a check on the activities of the Sikh community or of anyone else if the activities are within the legal parameters; moreover there is nothing criminal or immoral in desiring for freedom.
Even after that flat refusal, the Indian government did not stop from urging rather pressurizing the Canadian government to act against the rising pro-Khalistani sentiment in Canada.
The strength of the Khalistan Movement is increasing day by day in Canada because there are more than one million Sikhs in Canada and the Canadian government thinks that there is nothing objectionable in their demand for a separate homeland.
The leaders of Khalistan Movement say that they have no enmity with any religion but they hate the BJP extremists who don’t let them live in India.
These extremists very bluntly and openly claim that India is only for the Hindus and no one from any other religious school of thought must strive and desire to stay in India; particularly the Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslims.
For the purpose of defaming all these communities the Indian intelligence agencies are doing their utmost.
Recently on 13 September, the walls of a prominent Hindu temple in Toronto Canada, known as BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir were defaced by scrawling pro-Khalistan and anti-Indian slogans.
The BJP government without wasting any time and without any proof and investigation started condemning the Sikh community living in Canada for defacing the temple walls.
Some social media users started sharing a video of the defaced shrine where Khalistani sentiments can be seen written on walls but according to the Livemint, the legitimacy of video could not be confirmed.
Just a few days before this so-called ‘hate-incident’, some unknown miscreants tore off a picture-banner of martyred Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the city of Caledon, Ontario.
However, the Canadian police later on announced the arrest of an Indo-Canadian man for tearing that picture-banner.
It is something very interesting that all these incidents took place just five days ahead of the Khalistan Referendum voting.
It means these two incidents were ‘designed’ in a very calculated manner. The perpetrators tried to target the peace and harmony of the Canadian society where everyone is allowed to do anything living within boundaries provided by law of country.
Certainly the BJP government is not happy with the Canadian government as it has granted legal freedom to the Sikh community of raising its voice for the Sikh rights.
It is a sheer misconception of the Indian government that by pressurizing the Canadian government, it would succeed in crushing the Sikh demand for a separate and independent Sikh homeland.
The same cruel behaviour of the Indian government could be noticed in the Illegally Occupied valley of Kashmir where the local people are being treated as if they are the slaves.
Certainly the stubborn behaviour of the Hindu extremists would compel all minorities living in India to strive for a separate homeland of their own.
The most shocking demand for a separate homeland would be from the Dalits who are no doubt facing the worst basic human rights exploitation at present in India. Certainly, one day this community would also be in the queue of the fighters for liberation.
—The writer is Principal of a Government College and senior columnist, based in Multan.
Courtesy Pakistan Observer