OTTAWA, Ontario, Can.: Mr. Joe Clark, the Foreign Minister of Canada has called upon the Premiers of Canada to boycott the activities of three prime Sikh Organizations including one of the most active groups in the Canadian Sikhs.
The Foreign Minister further said that the activities of these organizations have been significant irritation in the relations with the Indian government.
Mr. Clark stated these views to the Premiers in a letter written by him in December, 1987. He said that the World Sikh Organization, International Sikh Youth Federation and Babbar Khalsa exist, solely to advocate the creation of an independent Sikh State known as Khalistan. Some members of these organizations have been engaged in or promote violence in India and also among the Indian in Canada and elsewhere. He added that government ‘of India has taken particular exception to their activities.
When elected officials attended the functions of these organizations it is construed as supporting their activities. He further added, “I would appreciate your cooperation in avoiding an activity which could be perceived as supporting these Sikh organizations or their objective in the creation of an independent state of Khalistan.” He also asked the provincial cabinet ministers and caucus members to be cautious of the activities of these organizations.
This letter was also sent to every province with a sizeable Sikh population. Only the New Found land and New Brunswick Premiers did not receive it.
- Gian Singh Sandhu, President of World Sikh Organization (Canada) said in an interview yesterday on the telephone from Vancouver that Mr. Clark is bowing to the pressure of the Indian government and trying to slave the Sikh community in Canada”. Is he (Mr. Clark) working for Government of India or is watching the interests of the Canadian people, he said. It is to mention that Government of India has charged that some Canadian Sikhs in W.S.O, have been linked to some violent acts of the militants in India which the W.S.Q. has repeatedly denied. Mr. Sandhu has asserted that his organization is opposed to violence and none of its members have been involved in violent incidents in Canada, concerning the establishment of independent state Khalistan.
The World Sikh Organization which claimed to represent 70% of two hundred thousand Canadian Sikhs is a community or interreligious organization dedicated to, creating understanding between the Sikhs and other communities in Canada, Mr. Sandhu said. The W.S.O. supports the creation of Khalistan but only through peaceful means, Mr. Sandhu added.
Kabul Singh, a W.S.O. spokesman from Winnipeg said that he had invited the government of Manitoba to send a representative to attend a meeting of W.S.O. at Winnipeg which was held last week, According to Mr. Kabul Singh, a government representative was also supposed to attend the session where the human rights violations in India were to be discussed. He further said that Manitoba government did not send any representative because of Clark’s letter. “We were very unhappy when Cabinet Minister of Manitoba government did not show up in that session; we were told that provincial government has to listen to the foreign Ministry of the Federal Government”.
The spokesman of International Sikh Youth Federation and Babbar Khalsa were not available for communication.
L.S.Y.F. has been claiming that this group is mainly a religious organization. It has never been concerned with any violent incident in Canada. However this group also has close links with A.I.S.S.F., which is closely tied with the Militant activities in India, Babbar Khalsa is identified as one of the largest militant groups in India.
Mr. Joe Clark was sick yesterday and was not available for comments.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 4, 1988