Canadian Foreign Minister, Mr. Joe Clark’s confidential letter to the Provincial governments asking them to boycott functions organized by three Sikh organizations of Canada is a blatant insult to Canada’s integrity and sovereignty. In his anxiety to please the Indian rulers, Mr. Clark has virtually mortgaged the freedom of his country. His action amounts to surrendering the constitutional rights of the Canadian citizens to a foreign power. How ridiculous it is that Ministers or senior government officials of Canada should seek clearance from Delhi to associate with their own countrymen. By working for a foreign government and against the fundamental rights of the Canadian citizens, Mr. Clark has committed high treason for which he ought to be dismissed and put on trial. Surely, Mr. Clark is not an ignorant victim beguiled by insidious propaganda but an accomplice in the criminality of India.

In his letter, Mr. Calrk has blamed Sikh organizations for acting as “major irritants” in Canada’s relations with India. He has condemned World Sikh Organization, International Sikh Youth Federation, and Babbar Khalsa purely on the basis of the wild charges made against them by the Indian government. He did not care to investigate the validity of the charges. He did not pause to consider that all these organizations have repeatedly denied any connection with violence anywhere. In fact, they have been exhorting their members to scrupulously function within the framework of the Canadian laws. But Mr. Clark’s concern is not as much with the violation of law as with the displeasure of the Indian government.

Not only Sikhs but people with conscience and courage everywhere are concerned with the plight of the Sikhs in Punjab. Nearly twenty five U.S. Congressmen have called upon the Indian government to end the persecution of Sikhs and restore their human and civil rights. Some of them have even demanded referendum in Punjab to settle the issues according to the will of the people. Sikh predicament in India is exactly the same as that of the dissidents in the Soviet Union or what the Jews suffered in Nazi Germany.

The Punjab continues to be a forbidden territory to the foreign journalists. It is a land where visiting Canadian citizens with valid visas are routinely arrested and tortured. Yet the life or the liberty of his countrymen has no importance for Mr. Clark. It does not merit even a formal protest. On the other hand, he has a serious problem when Canadian Sikhs exercise their constitutional and legitimate right of peaceful protest against Indian government’s ruthless suppression of their brothers in India. Canada has an excellent record of standing up for the freedom of the people. It supported sanctions against the racist regime of South Africa, it voted against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Apparently, Mr. Clark seems to have decided upon a different course now. He looks determined to tarnish his country’s record. The people of Canada must not allow it. They must demand an explanation and salvage the sinking prestige of their country by making Mr. Clark quit immediately. Canada cannot afford to go down in history as a squealing satellite of India.

The Sikh organizations also need to take up the challenge. They do not owe their existence to the courtesy of Mr. Clark or for that matter to the courtesy of anybody else. They are there by virtue of their fundamental and inalienable right as Canadian citizens and they must assert themselves as such. Mr. Clark must be made to realize how costly it can be to serve as a stooge of a foreign country or what it means to barter away the national honors. They should not hesitate to seek a legal remedy so that recurrence of such antinational acts can be permanently stopped.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 4, 1988