Taking into account India’s concerns over support of Khalistani militants on its soil, Canada has for the first time under the Justin Trudeau regime listed Sikh extremism as a threat to the country. Public Safety Canada, an arm of the Canadian government, said some individuals in the country continue to support Sikh (Khalistani) extremist ideologies and movements in its “2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada“.
Sikh groups Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation, which are already on Canada’s watch list, remain listed as terror entities under the criminal code, the report mentions.
The report notes that while violent activities in support of an independent Sikh homeland (Khalistan) in India have fallen since the 1980s when terrorists carried out the bombing of an Air India flight, killing 331 people, “support for the extreme ideologies of such groups remains”.
“Violent activities in support of an independent Sikh homeland have fallen since their height during the 1982-1993 period when individuals and groups conducted numerous terrorist attacks. While attacks around the world in support of this movement have declined, support for the extreme ideologies of such groups remains,” the report mentions.
The document also mentions Sunni Islamist Extremism, Right-Wing Extremism, and Shia Extremism, pointing out that some Canadians continue to support these groups financially.
The support to Khalistani militants in Canada has been a sore point between India and Canada as was witnessed during Trudeau’s visit to India early this year. Trudeau’s party is believed to lend passive support to the Khalistanis who have been using Canada as a strong base for decades now.
The Canadian PM has repeatedly failed to take into account the sensitivities in India regarding support to Sikh terror groups in Canada.
His visit to India earlier this year had made the Khalistan movement a talking point once again. During his meeting with Trudeau, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said he had raised the issue of Khalistan. In an incident that caused further embarrassment to the Canadian premiere, Trudeau’s wife was clicked with Jaspal Atwal, a member of an illegal Sikh separatist group, who was invited to an event hosted by the Canadian High Commission.