Last Updated: October 17, 2023, 11:38 IST
Khalistani sympathisers from the US and UK have gathered in Canada’s Vancouver to put another show of strength, this time under Jalandhar-origin gangster Amritbir Singh Cheema, sources told News18.
Cheema, wanted in many cases in Punjab, has applied for asylum in Canada where he has been living since 2015.
Sources said the group is using radio to radicalise people. “They have hired a radio station named Radio Punjab Vancouver for a daily two-hour show to radicalise people. It’s interesting to note that callers are also not locals from Canada. The calls are coming from California, which means local Canadians are hardly interested,” an official told News18.
Sources said many local Sikhs have complained to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), but it reportedly refused to take action, citing it as an internal matter between Khalistani groups and the Government of India.
News18 had earlier reported on Cheema’s anti-India activities from Canada. In 2016, he had organised a blood donation camp in memory of local gangster Sukha Kahlwan, who was a sharp-shooter.
The Indo-Canadian community has voiced deep concern over the “ecosystem” in Canada that has enabled Khalistan extremists to use violence, threaten and bully those opposing their “nefarious agendas”.
Amid the diplomatic standoff between Canada and India over the killing of Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in British Columbia province in June, several community leaders have cautioned that political appeasement for short-term gains is not in the interest of Canada’s future.
“It is very concerning for us as a country, as Canadians… the direction which we as a country are taking in the sense of giving freedom of expression, which is our charter right, to people who don’t believe in that same freedom of expression for others. Peace-loving Canadians do not believe in (a) certain ideology which is very extreme, which does not belong to Canada,” National Convener, Canada India Foundation, Ritesh Malik said.
Referring to Khalistan extremists in Canada, Malik said these people “create differences in society and disturb communal harmony. They work with a nefarious agenda and are derailing relationships between the two countries.”