Has Jagmeet Singh’s presence made Trudeau’s minority government weak on Khalistan challenge?
The New Democratic Party leader vowed to seek justice over Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder and also held Indian prime minister Narendra Modi responsible.
Canadian prime minister and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L) with New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (Photo by JUSTIN TANG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
IS the compulsion of coalition politics responsible for Canada’s Justin Trudeau-led government’s current stance on the Khalistan issue that has pitted itself against India’s Narendra Modi government and threatened to derail their bilateral ties?
According to an Economic Times report, the government of Trudeau has often given up under pressure from Sikh extremist groups for trying to take steps against disruptive elements in the community. The presence of the New Democratic Party led by the Indian-origin Jagmeet Singh in the ruling coalition has not helped the situation.
Singh came out in support of his prime minister hours after India rejected Trudeau’s allegations that it is linked to the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil in June. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Singh vowed that he would not leave any stone unturned in the pursuit of justice over Nijjar’s murder. He also held Indian prime minister Narendra Modi accountable.
Observers have said that the facts that Trudeau leads a minority government with Singh’s backing and his popularity is sliding have influenced his decision to play to the vote bank. The Times also cited a source as saying that the Trudeau government did not act over the Khalistan threat despite multiple requests from New Delhi.
Singh has ties with various sections of Khalistani extremists, including musicians who support their case, the report added.
In 2018, a report by the Trudeau government had alleged that “some Canadians continue to support these extremist groups, including through financing”.
But the government faced a backlash from the radical groups, who worked hard for removing references to Sikh extremism and Khalistan. Trudeau also came under attack from such groups that accused him of using the Sikhs for getting election funds.
Trudeau’s Sikh-heavy government did not resist and revised the report next year when the mention of Sikh extremism and Khalistan was deleted, the report added.