Canada’s capitulation of Khalistani elements

| Updated: 08 November, 2023 2:22 pm IST
Not all Sikhs are Khalistanis (Photo from social media)

In a world where aviation safety remains a major concern, threats against airlines and airports cannot be taken lightly. The recent threat issued by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a pro-Khalistan separatist, against Air India flights is deeply affecting. While the safety and security of passengers must always be the top priority, it is essential to take the threat seriously considering the underlying issues and historical context. 

The Air India Flight 182 bombing, also known as the Kanishka bombing, was a terrorist attack on June 23, 1985. A bomb exploded on the Boeing 747 aircraft, en route from Montreal to London via Delhi. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Ireland, killing all 329 passengers on board. It was the worst terrorist attack involving an airplane until September 11, 2001. The main suspects were Sikh extremists who were based in Canada seeking revenge for the Indian government’s assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, 1984. Talwinder Singh Parmar, the leader of the banned organisation Babbar Khalsa, was responsible for the operation. 

Inderjit Singh Reyat, a Canadian Sikh, was the only person to be convicted for the bombing. He made the explosives and inspected the bag containing the bomb at Vancouver airport. The bombing highlighted weaknesses in Canadian and international aviation security at the time. It prompted reforms in baggage inspection protocols and passenger screening procedures. The investigation and prosecution lasted for over 20 years due to challenges regarding the assembling of evidence and coordinating with Canadian and Indian authorities. 

Families of the victims are still demanding further inquiry into the allegations of institutional failures in preventing and properly prosecuting the attack. The bombing remains one of the deadliest aviation terrorist attacks in history. It caused deep wounds in Canada’s Sikh community and Indo-Canadian relations that persist in numerous ways to this day.

First and foremost, threats against civilian aeroplanes are not just unwise, but also morally unacceptable, regardless of the cause one advocates. Advocacy for political objectives should be facilitated through peaceful and lawful means, focusing on dialogue and engagement rather than resorting to acts of violence or intimidation. The potential for loss of innocent lives and damage to property in the event of an attack on an aircraft is too much to justify such actions. 

Pannun, known for his advocacy for Khalistan, is rooted in anarchy, and secessionism from India which had been supported by Pakistan in the 1980s. The issue is not solely about the threat itself, but it also sheds light on the ongoing conflict between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his alliance with Sikh separatists and the Indian government. 

In response to such threats, the Indian government has increased security measures at airports to ensure passenger safety. The safety of all passengers regardless of their beliefs or background must always be a priority. At the same time, it is an opportunity for the Indian government to call out Ottawa’s continuous disregard for Khalistan extremism having gone beyond the realm of freedom of speech. 

With Khalistani extremists calling out for violence openly, it is clear that the Canadian government has capitulated to extremists. There has been no penalty for propagating radical ideas in the past and there is little hope there will be in the future. If the Canadian government still desires to be regarded as a beacon for freedom, liberty, secularism, and democracy, it will have to be tough on extremists who are being harboured in Canada’s society and in the echelons of its government institutions too. 

ALSO READ: Embracing the UCC in India: A step towards societal progress

Also Read Story

AAP accuses Delhi BJP MPs of demolishing slums, houses

Train derailment in UP’s Gonda leaves four dead, dozens injured

Two terrorists killed in Kupwara encounter

Two Army personnel injured in Doda encounter