Law and Society Alliance, an independent organisation based in London, hosted a webinar on ‘How Khalistanis use Western democracy to promote extremism and violence ?’ The webinar was centred around a 160-page report by Colin Bloom, an Independent Faith Engagement Advisor. The report talks about the means and ways in which the terrorist groups that demand a separate Khalistan have been making use of the freedom provided in Western nations, especially the UK, to fan the flames of hate and extremism and also bring violence to innocents that dare to speak up against their violent ways.
Amid a sharp increase in pro-Khalistani activities across the globe, a new report revealed that the Khalistani movement at present is being fanned in US and Europe by an extremely small group of a minority of terrorists and extremists, aided and funded by Pakistan.
The webinar was centred around a 160-page report by Colin Bloom, an Independent Faith Engagement Advisor. The report talks about the means and ways in which the terrorist groups that demand a separate Khalistan have been making use of the freedom provided in Western nations, especially the UK, to fan the flames of hate and extremism and also bring violence to innocents that dare to speak up against their violent ways.
According to the report, the truth is that the majority of Sikhs and Indians living abroad do not support extremism and the call for a separate Khalstan. They are deeply patriotic Indians.
The Idea of Khalistan is a long dream of Pakistan. The report points out that there is a power tug-of-war between the Khalistanis and larger Sikh organisations in the UK for the control of the Gurudwaras, the Khalistanis use the gurdwaras as a means to spread their messages of hate and extremism and also to collect funding for their operations. Additionally, the Bloom report highlights that the Sikh community in the UK, which supports the Khalistan cause, is in a tiny minority but they use violence, harassment, and their influence to coerce other moderate and peaceful Sikhs to fall in line and support their ideology.
Violence and intimidation go completely against the tenets of the Sikh faith, the Khalistanis in the UK and all across the world are trying to also hijack the Sikh faith and use it for their benefit.
The first speaker at the webinar was Sameer Kaushal, from Sher-e-Punjab Radio based in Canada. He started by stating that this 159-page report is extremely comprehensive and recorded the answers of 2100 respondents. He added that according to the report, people are divided into three categories, True Believers, who are generous and kind and follow the teachings of their faith, then there are some who do not believe in a higher power, these people are also largely peaceful and kind, and lastly, there are the make-believers, these comprise of people and individuals that do believe in religion but use their religion as a justification of violence and personal greed.
He also said the majority of Sikhs in the UK have perfectly assimilated with life in Britain and benefit British society. It is only a small vocal minority of extremists that use aggressive tactics to propagate their beliefs. Kaushal then goes on to narrate his own experience of how he was attacked and harassed by Khalistani activists during an event organised by the Indian High Commission in Surrey, Canada. While attempting to enter the event, Kaushal was labelled as anti-Sikh even if he is from Punjab. Kaushal then had to leave the event for their safety and the mob of extremists were turning hostile and violent against him.
He added that the report clearly shows that some places of Sikh worship have been taken over by Khalistani elements and these places are then used as tools of violence and hate propaganda to please Pakistan. Kaushal goes on to add that these extremists are brainwashing the youth and creating a false narrative that the Indian state is hostile towards the Sikhs, which is not true. Kaushal has even interviewed Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the Legal Counsel for Sikhs for Justice, asking him why Khalistani extremists demand that Khalistan be carved out of the Indian side of Punjab and not the one that lies in Pakistan.
Unsurprisingly, Punnun did not have a satisfactory answer. This raises a lot of questions — who is truly behind the call for Khalistan? The majority of Sikhs have no opinion on it and wish to live in peace and harmony.
The next speaker was Mahajan. He started by saying that Western democracies are giving too much freedom of speech to these extremists, this allows these extremists to freely propagate their message of hate and secession.
In the garb of the freedom of speech and freedom of protest, Khalistanis force the governments of the UK, Canada, and other Western countries to allow their protests and actions, Mahajan said, adding that they are using the values of the country’s democracy against them. He further claimed that even the gurdwaras of Canada have become breeding grounds for extortionists and crime due to the influence of Khalistani extremists. Canadian law does not allow questioning of the finances of religious institutions, thus allowing Khalistani extremists to use the money from these places of worship for their extremist agenda, he noted.
The basic premise of Khalistanis as presented in the Bloom report is correct, he said, adding that their use of religious sentiments for their benefits is correct. Most of the Indian diaspora are peace-loving and wish just to live with their families but extremists create a false narrative that the Indian diaspora is anti-India.
Law and Society Alliance is an independent Indian national growth organisation providing legal and knowledge intervention on issues that need study and research, data mining and analysis, and prolonged groundwork on matters such as National Security, Human Rights, Terrorism, Narcotics, Legal Reforms, Legislative Reforms, Financial Inclusion, Economic Growth, and all walks of human activity aimed at development, modern standards of living, and cultural moorings of humanism. (with inputs from ANI)