Friday, July 19, 2024

Ottawa MP calls Canadian Hindus ‘soft targets’, urges them to be calm but vigilant and to report Hinduphobia incidents

Stating that Hindu Canadians are ‘soft targets’, Indian-origin MP Chandra Arya on Thursday urged the community to stay calm, vigilant and report incidents of Hinduphobia in the face of a recent video by a Khalistani leader threatening and asking them to leave the country.

Emboldened by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusations, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, a designated Khalistani terrorist in India and leader of outlawed Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), asked Indo-Canadian Hindus to leave the country, leaving the community shocked and terrified.

“I have heard from many Hindu-Canadians who are fearful after this targeted attack. I urge Hindu-Canadians to stay calm but vigilant. Please report any incident of Hinduphobia to your local law enforcement agencies,” MP Arya wrote in a long post on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday.

The Hindu MP said that Pannun is trying to provoke the Hindu-Canadians to react and divide the Hindu and Sikh communities in Canada that are connected through family relationships and shared social and cultural ties.

“Let me be clear. Vast majority of our Canadian Sikh brothers and sisters do not support the Khalistan movement. Most Sikh Canadians may not publicly condemn the Khalistan movement for several reasons but they are deeply connected to the Hindu-Canadian community,” Arya, who hails from Karnataka said.

According to him, the “direct attack” on Hindu-Canadians by Pannun is a further escalation of the recent attacks on Hindu temples and public celebration of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by terrorists.

“Canada has high moral values and we fully uphold the rule of law. I can’t understand how glorification of terrorism or a hate crime targeting a religious group is allowed in the name of freedom of speech and expression,” Arya said.

He further pointed out that there would be an outrage in Canada if a white supremist attacked any group of racialised Canadians asking them to get out of our country. “But apparently this Khalistani leader can get away with this hate crime,” he said.

Further, Arya said that it is because Hindu Canadians keep a “low profile, they are considered a soft targets”, adding that the community’s success cannot be digested by the anti-Hindu elements.

Citing his own case, Arya said he has been repeatedly attacked for raising a flag with Hindu religious sacred symbol Aum on Canadian Parliament hill.

“Two well-organised groups claiming to represent their faiths have been attacking Hindu-Canadian community leaders, Hindu organisations and even me. For over ten months, I have been attacked for raising a flag with our Hindu religious sacred symbol Aum on our parliament hill,” the Hindu parliamentarian stated.

Members of the Hindu community started coming to Canada 100 years ago. The community has people who migrated from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Southeast Asia and even Africa.

According to Statistics Canada, as reported in the 2021 Census, Hindus rose from 1.0 per cent to 2.3 per cent (close to 830,000 people) of total Canadian population from 2001 to 2021.

November is celebrated as Hindu Heritage Month in Canada. Arya’s strong statement comes as Pannun announced that protests are slated to take place outside Indian consulates in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver on September 25, calling for expulsion of Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Verma.

Pannun’s SFJ will be holding a referendum in Canada on October 29, which will ask voters whether Verma was responsible for the death of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in Surrey in June this year.

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