A recent tweet by the Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg supporting the farmers’ agitation in Delhi has brought a Canada-based outfit Poetic Justice Foundation into focus. Probing the tweet, the Delhi Police claimed that the toolkit tweeted by Greta was created by PJF, an alleged pro-Khalistan outfit.
“PJF is an 11-month-old organisation as it was formed in March, 2020,” said MO Dhaliwal, the co-founder of the outfit while replying to questions sent to him. It is a non-profit organisation.
What is the objective of PJF?
“Main objective is to create awareness and dialogue around human rights and social justice issues that have intersections with the South Asian diaspora,” said Dhaliwal.
The outfit’s website says: “We develop content, workshops and events to provoke, challenge and disrupt systemic inequities and biases. We create safe spaces for exploration, learning and healing to foster societal change. Our goal is to educate, organize and mobilize Canadians to achieve and protect equal rights in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Currently, we are most actively involved in the #FarmersProtest that has activated Indian diaspora worldwide as a rebuke to India’s oppressive policies towards farmers.”
A letter by PJF says, “We are radical advocates for love. We advocate for freedom and dignity. Growing up in a democracy, our expectation of democracy is that there is plenty of room for dissent. India ranks 142 out of 180 countries for press freedom. This means free speech and independent journalism is suppressed.”
What are its activities?
The outfit is quite active on social media and raises questions over human rights. Currently, it is majorly involved in farmers’ protests and has created a website called AskIndiaWhy.com. Questions like — Why is India killing its farmers? Why is India killing its minorities? Why is India killing its own democracy? are asked on the website.
“We have no Khalistani agenda. What we promote is dialogue and free speech — as guaranteed in the constitutions of real democracies. We promote dialogue, whether that’s on the viability of Khalistan, or whether it’s on the perceived rise of right wing, radical nationalism in India,” said Dhaliwal.
Delhi Police sources said that it is pro-Khalistani organisation because its founder MO Dhaliwal, who is also director of PR firm Skyrocket, a digital branding creative agency in Vancouver, himself in a message on social media dated September 17, 2019 had announced that “I am ‘Khalistani’. You might not know this about me. Why? Because Khalistan is an idea, Khalistan is a living, breathing movement”.
Sources in Delhi police said that in his recent speech on January 26 in Vancouver during a protest, he said: “If the farm Bills get repealed tomorrow, that is not a victory. This battle will begin with the repeal, it does not end there. If anybody tells you that this battle is going to end with the repeal that is because they are trying to drain energy from this movement. They are trying to tell you that you are separate from Punjab, you are separated from Khalistan movement, you are not.”
“We have nothing to do with these items,” said MO.
Why did he say that he is a Khalistani?
“As an expression of solidarity with Sikhs at a time when Sikhs in Canada were being maligned as terrorists. Cover the whole Facebook post, not just the cropped top half of the excerpt,” he said while speaking about his speech in recent protest.
Where is MO Dhaliwal from?
He was born and raised in Canada. His social media profiles revealed that he is an alumnus of University of Fraser Valley (UFV) where he studied Business for two years and then entered the technology world and went off to Silicon Valley. He also incorporated the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society. He has been working as a Director in Skyrocket since 2011.
He is quite close to New Democratic Party (NDP) leader and member of Canadian parliament Jagmeet Singh Dhaliwal and has coined a slogan for his campaign “Love and Courage”.