Canadian Sikhs condemn militancy, violence

April 24th, 2010 - 2:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Ontario (Canada), Apr.24 (ANI): Though speculation is rife that Sikh extremism in Canada is getting worse, The Globe and Mail reports that the Canadian Sikh community isn’t too thrilled with the recent outbreaks of violence in Ontario and the threats issued to leaders of the community in British Columbia, and even admonish those who suggest extremism is flourishing.According to the paper, Canada’s 300,000 Sikhs have had little choice but to watch, weigh in and move on with daily life, despite the distinctly uncomfortable feeling of being dragged backward into reductive stereotypes: crazed militant, keeper of the old-country grudge.

“There’s no reason why this should be happening now; there’s nothing going on in the Sikh community that would support violence or anything like that,” the paper quotes Balpreet Singh Boparai, a 29-year-old lawyer from Toronto, as saying. “My image is held hostage to the crazy acts of some random people. These people who are doing this should be prosecuted … and even within the Sikh community, we’re saying these people should be sidelined,” Boparai adds.

It quotes Jas Gill, a communications manager of the Sher-e-Punjab radio station in Richmond, B.C., as saying that she was ‘offended’ by allegations made by Liberal MP and former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh that Sikh militancy is on the rise in Canada.

Canada’s mainstream Sikhs say they feel sidelined by the unsavoury incidents in their community. While many may sympathize with the ideal of Sikh sovereignty, or call for Indian redress of past wrongs in the Punjab region, the paper quotes Ramandeep Grewal, a prominent voice among Toronto Sikhs, as saying that it would be a reckless leap to suggest they (Canadian Sikhs) support armed struggle or reject Canadian values.

She claims that her community’s swift denunciation of the recent incidents reflects its maturity. (ANI)

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