VANCOUVER (CP) — The International Sikh Youth Federation claims a provincial premier will speak at its upcoming national convention despite External Affairs Minister Joe Clark’s warning to premiers to avoid the group.
Federation spokesman Jagdeep Singh Sanghera refused Thursday to name the premier, who he said is confirmed to speak at the convention in Toronto March 1920.
Sanghera said the federation is considering a libel suit against Clark for a December letter asking, seven premiers not to accept invitations to events held by the federation, the World Sikh Organization and Babbar Khalsa.
The letter said, “The activities of these organizations have been a significant irritant in our relations with India.”
Sanghera said the letter was actually sent to Manitoba Premier Howard Pawley, with copies to other premiers. Copies were not sent to the premiers of New Brunswick, Newfoundland or Prince Edward Island. Privincial officials have confirmed their leaders received the letter.
Clark’s letter says the three organizations exist “largely to advocate the creation of an independent Sikh state (in India), known as Khalistan.”
The government of India “has taken particular exception” when elected officials attend functions sponsored by these organizations, Clark said.
Sanghera said Sikhs across Canada will rally to try to have Clark defeated in the next election because of the letter.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 11, 1988