"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Ujjal Dosanjh asks Canadian government to register protest with India for what is happening under Modi Featured

 

A former BC Premier who is also a known secularist wants Canada to stand up against a discriminatory law passed by the right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government in New Delhi.

Ujjal Dosanjh told Spice Radio that India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) violates international conventions on refugees.

He pointed out that since Canada and India claim to be allies who share common values, it is time that Ottawa should take this up with India.

The BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently adopted the CAA, which discriminates against Muslim refugees coming from neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, on the pretext of giving shelter to non-Muslims facing religious persecution in those places.

This has caused outrage as it goes against the principles of secularism and religious equality enshrined in the Indian constitution. The BJP aims to transform India into a Hindu theocracy. and the opponents of CAA believe it is a step in that direction.

Recent protests against the act in New Delhi had left more than 50 people dead. The victims were mostly Muslims. Violence against peaceful demonstrators was triggered by the BJP supporters with the help of police.  

Dosanjh, who has recently returned from a trip to India, had raised his concerns with the Indian press as well. 

A vocal critic of religious extremism of any shade, he was threatened and physically assaulted by the Sikh hardliners in the past. He has been writing columns on the growing violence against minorities under Modi even though he remains a well wisher of India. 

He said that CAA is a “deliberate destruction of the fabric of India”. He noted that the Modi government's actions go against the spirit of inclusion that was cherished by the participants of freedom movement.

Notably, Dosanjh’s maternal grandfather Moola Singh Bahowal had fought against the British occupation of India.    

Dosanjh also see similarities between Continuous Journey Regulation (CJR) and CAA. CJR was a racist law that was passed in 1908 by the Canadian government to prevent South Asian immigrants from coming to Canada. The Komagata Maru ship carrying more than 300 Indian passengers was forced to return under CJR by Canada in 1914. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has officially apologized for that episode in the House of Commons.

Dosanjh said that it is difficult to ignore what is going on under Modi and people like him sitting outside India have every right to be critical.

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Last modified on Friday, 03 April 2020 17:23
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