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

NDP leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh questions if India is destabilizing his campaign

Federal NDP leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh is getting reports that the pro-India lobby in Canada is trying to dissuade people from getting involved in his campaign. 

Talking to RDNB during his Vancouver tour, Singh said he's learned from his supporters that people within the South Asian community are often discouraged from participating in his fundraising events. 

Singh noted that some people who had earlier shown interest in donating money to his campaign later changed their minds after receiving some kind of pressure.

"I am still trying to get as many witnesses as I can to prove this so that an appropriate action can be taken," he said.

He pointed out that if any foreign government is found to be interfering in Canadian politics through its agents, this matter should be taken seriously. 

Singh is also receiving opposition from racists in the mainstream community because of his turban and facial hair.

"In spite of these challenges I continue to receive tremendous support from ordinary people," he said. 

The Indian government previously denied Singh a visa for constantly raising human-rights issues in that country.

In 2016, the Ontario MPP brought forward a motion in the legislative assembly seeking to recognize the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre in India as a Sikh genocide. It didn't pass, but this year Singh supported a similar motion by a Liberal MPP, which did pass.

Thousands of Sikhs were murdered all over India in November 1984. The bloodshed followed the assassination of then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Supporters of the slain leader's Congress party were seen leading the mobs targeting innocent Sikhs. 

Apart from speaking out for justice for the victims of anti-Sikh violence, Singh has been raising the issue of political prisoners in India, as well as caste-based oppression of Dalits, or so called untouchables.

He has been equally critical of anti-Muslim violence that rocked the  western Indian state of Gujarat in 2002.

That carnage was started by the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was allegedly torched leaving more than 50 people dead. The Gujarat government under Narendra Modi  (now prime minister of India) blamed Muslim fundamentalists for the incident. 

When Modi was welcomed by the Canadian government in 2015, Singh was one of the rare politicians who pressed the Canadian government to raise its voice on the human-rights situation in India.

Singh's great-grandfather was an Indian freedom fighter who died fasting for the rights of political prisoners, yet the Indian government continues to bar Singh from entering the country.

"Though it hurts that I cannot go to the country my parents came from, I have no regrets for standing up for the right thing," Singh said. "If my great-grandfather could sacrifice his life for the nation, how does it matter if I don't get a visa?"

 

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Last modified on Friday, 04 August 2017 17:52
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