Toronto, Sep 22 : Though the Sikh community has been present in Canada for over a hundred years, its numbers only started increasing rapidly from the late ’70s.
The shift in the profile of the Sikh community started happening in the late 1970s and early 1980s when lots of them landed here from India and Europe seeking asylum, alleging persecution in Punjab.
After the events of 1984, the pro-Khalistan sentiment became very strong and radicals took control of major gurdwaras even as more Sikhs poured into the country seeking asylum.
“Being from Punjab villages where Jats lord over other communities, these Sikh leaders started asserting themselves over the growing community by taking control of gurdwaras.
They knew the collective psyche of Punjabis from their villages and used it to enforce their writ,” says Brampton-based Punjabi journalist Balraj Deol.
Amid the events of the 1980s in Punjab, the Khalistanis started brainwashing people about the grievances of Sikhs in Punjab.
“It was during this period that these Khalistanis became very powerful.They had gained control of gurdwaras, they had clout and they had money.
Politicians started courting these leaders for votes and funds.That’s where the Khalistan problem began in a big way in Canada,” says a Brampton community leader requesting anonymity.
“What is worse is that these Khalistani leaders started brainwashing their children with all kinds of poisonous stories about the treatment being meted out to Sikhs in Punjab.Today, many of these children are MPs, Ministers and top political leaders in major parties.They are spewing venom against India.It will be very difficult to rewire the minds of these brainwashed people,” he says.
Though not even five per cent Sikhs in Canada support the idea of Khalistan, the Khalistani radicals are so powerful because of their control of gurdwaras, political funds and their presence in all three federal parties and the bureaucracy that few dare to defy them.
The high profile of the radicals in the Sikh community in Canada since the 1980s is the root cause of today’s crisis facing India and Canada.
#Brainwashed #Khalistani #radicals #Canada #Punjab #Toronto #Idea