Return of the Khalistan discourse via Canada could be part of deeper design

Chandigarh, February 25: Both the governments at the centre and in Punjab have been claiming over the years that the Khalistan struggle that was triggered in Punjab in late seventies phased out in mid-nineties and there were no takers for it. However, Khalistan is back in the country’s political discourse although no forceful group of opinion makers has raised it in recent times. The issue surfaced in the media and the government on the eve of visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the visit.

It now appears that the entire discourse on Khalistan was carefully choreographed. A section of the media is too eager to implement such designs, all the more so under the present dispensation. This section of the media portrayed  Canada as the new centre of the Khalistan struggle. There is nothing to suggest that there has been any intensification of Khalistan struggle in Canada in the last few months. There perhaps have been more demonstrations by the supporters of Khalistan in England than in Canada. It may be mentioned that the Khalistani and Kashmiri  lobbies have been working jointly in UK. However, back home in Punjab, there have been no takers for it over the years.

Significantly, the magazine that had done cover story on Khalistan had pictured Trudeau on cover with caption Khalistan II. The game was clear as the magazine quoted Indian establishment extensively. This was followed by a news portal.

All hell broke loose when Trudeau landed on Indian soil. The picture of Trudeau’s wife appeared in the papers in the company of Canadian of Indian origin Jaspal Atwal. Here was the man who was a former terrorist, convicted in attack on Malkit Singh Sidhu, a minister in the then Beant Singh government. The Canadian High Commission had sent him an invite too for dinner  that was for Trudeau. Trudeau was accompanied by a Khalistani and a former terrorist!

It may be mentioned that Trudeau has four Sikh ministers in his cabinet and his defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan had come under attack for being alleged Khalistan supporter. He has clarified his views on this issue. Capt Amarinder Singh had refused to meet him when he had visited Punjab alone earlier. Now he accompanied Trudeau in talks with Amarinder.

The only place where Trudeau was accorded grand welcome was Golden Temple in Amritsar, the centre of the Sikh faith. A section of the media found faults with his dress too that he wore during this visit. It has been written that even the “cuteness” of his kids was choreographed.

However, it is entire design that seems to have been choreographed and that includes the role of the media.

Jaspal Singh Atwal had visited India in August last year and he was honoured by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Manjit Singh GK with a souvenir in his office in Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. None took notice of it then.

Here was a person who had been convicted in a terrorist activity in Canada but the Indian High Commission granted him visa. One does not know as to how many times he has visited India after he completed his jail term. It is only now that this has been pointed out to prove certain point.

Here is a report that appeared in Canada based on Atwal’s credentials: “Convicted Sikh extremist has been removed from India’s travel blacklist. The sources also said that Atwal is known to have met with and had ‘close links’ to Indian diplomatic officials with the Indian consulate office in Vancouver and is close to other Indian officials as well…he is much more comfortable with Government of India”. There are several other reports to this effect in Canadian media.

Capt Amarinder Singh too played it out as the game suited him too but at one level, it has boomeranged on him as the issues that had come under discussion at his meeting with Trudeau has come to be questioned. Trudeau denied later while talking to Canadian media that he had discussed Quebec issue with Amarinder in the way it had been reported. The report quoting Trudeau said, “The reports are false. I said nothing of the sort. On the contrary, I have always said I’m proud of the lessons that Canada and Quebec have to share on differences of opinion shared in peaceful ways and pluralism  and diversity that is positive for our community”.

Something is wrong somewhere.

This is 2018 and not 1984 and  the lapdog media too should realise this.


Jagtar Singh


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