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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Human lives more important than transitory political interests: India’s message to Canada on terrorism

The comments came a few days after Canada’s parliament observed a minute’s silence for Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on the first anniversary of his murder

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 25.06.24, 05:33 AM
Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar. File Photo.

India on Sunday said no government should overlook the threat of terrorism emanating from its territory for political gain, seeking to reprimand Canada for providing a conducive environment to separatists.

The comments came a few days after Canada’s parliament observed a minute’s silence for Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on the first anniversary of his murder.

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Addressing the 39th anniversary of the Kanishka bombing in Ottawa, India’s high commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, said on Sunday: “Human lives are much more important than the transitory political interests. All terrorist activities should be met with exemplary legal and social actions before they start harming the larger humanity.

“Governments, security agencies and international organisations must work in concert to dismantle terrorist networks, disrupt their financing and counter their twisted ideologies,” Verma said.

Memorial meetings were organised in other Canadian cities, too. At the Vancouver meeting, supporters of the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a pro-Khalistan group that is banned in India, gathered near the venue and sought to distribute pamphlets, resulting in an altercation.

Stating they were standing in solidarity with the families of the victims of the bombing, the SFJ pamphlet alleged the involvement of Indian agents posted in Canada at that time.

In a related statement, the high commission underscored that the perpetrators and co-conspirators of the 1985 mid-air blast, off the coast of Ireland, remain free.

“Any act of glorifying terrorism, including the bombing of AI-182 in 1985, is deplorable and should be condemned by all peace-loving countries and people. It is unfortunate that such actions are allowed to be routine on many occasions in Canada,” it said.

The statement also quoted from a remark made by external affairs minister S. Jaishankar at last year’s United Nations General Assembly that appeared custom-made for nations that India views as conducive for terrorists and separatists.

“Nor must we countenance that political convenience determines responses to terrorism, extremism and violence. Similarly, respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs cannot be exercises in cherrypicking,” it said.

India has for long complained about Canada allowing space to Khalistani activists, a situation compounded in recent years by the Justin Trudeau government’s dependence on the New Democratic Party — headed by Khalistani supporter Jagmeet Singh — for survival.

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