• Saturday, May 18, 2024

Diaspora

Modi made robust ties with Sikh community: Indian American leader

Jasdip Singh Jesse, the Indian-born founder and chairman of Sikhs for America, said that reporting by a section of the western media questioning India’s democratic traditions is far away from reality.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi wears a Sikh turban while meeting a delegation from the community at his official residence in New Delhi in September 2022. (ANI Photo/ PIB)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AT a time when India’s Narendra Modi government has found itself at odds with Sikh separatists, sometimes even leading diplomatic spat with Canada which is home to a huge Sikh population, prominent Indian American leader Jasdeep Singh Jesse has said the Indian prime minister has established strong relationship with the Sikhs.

He also said that the ongoing free and fair general elections in India show the vibrancy and strength of the country’s democratic system.

Jesse, the Indian-born founder and chairman of Sikhs for America, also said that reporting by a section of the western media questioning India’s democratic traditions is far away from reality.

Read: Sikh separatist groups in Canada crossing ‘big red line’: Indian envoy

“Look at what’s happening in the US… (opposition candidate and former president Donald) Trump is being dragged to court and he is not being allowed to speak in his campaign. Compared to that, India has a vibrant democracy and is working very effectively,” Singh, who is a supporter of Trump, said, adding India has set an example in conducting free and fair elections.

Modi visited Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji Patna Sahib Gurdwara, one of the five Sikh takhs (spiritual centres), earlier this week and besides offering prayers, he served langar, a communal meal in Sikh tradition, to the devotees.

Read: Canada, India to add more flights & routes: Trudeau to Sikh community

General elections in Punjab will be held on June 1, the seventh and final phase of the national polls.

Singh is scheduled to visit India later this month to support Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the former Indian ambassador to the US, who is contesting the general elections on the ticket of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from the constituency of Amritsar in the Punjab state.

The businessman also said the national mood is increasingly in favour of Modi and India has made remarkable progress and seen unprecedented development under his leadership in the last decade.

“I am confident that he will be re-elected for the third consecutive term based on his track record, developmental agenda, and vision for a developed world,” he said.

The Punjabi expatriate community was enthusiastic about the candidature of Sandhu and is eager to work with the former diplomat to make Amritsar a world-class city in the coming years, he said.

Amritsar, he said, has the potential to be the hub of cultural, religious, and economic development of the world. Successive elected representatives have neglected the city.

With Sandhu, the Punjabi American community believes that Amritsar is headed for its golden period, Singh said.

A group of Indian Americans has already announced $100 million in investment for the city.

This is just the beginning, there is more to come, Singh, who is leading a high-powered delegation of influential Sikh Americans to campaign for Sandhu in his elections, said.

Applauding Modi for the work that he has done for the Sikh community, he said it was unprecedented and no other Indian prime minister could match his accomplishments.

He is the best friend of the Sikhs, Singh said, hoping that in his probable third term, he would be able to address the other issues as well for the development of Punjab.

“Sikhs are very happy with him,” he said.

Nijjar death in Canada result of gang war, Singh says

Responding to a question, Singh said the killing of separatist Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada last year was a result of a gang war.

The Canadian government needs to make public any evidence that it has against India. Till today, Canada has not given any proof of it. The four people who have been arrested are said to be Indian nationals, but they were living in Canada, the Canadian government gave them the visa, but they ignored their criminal track record, if any in India, he said.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in September last year of the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar.

India dismissed Trudeau’s charges as “absurd” and “motivated.”

Nijjar was a Khalistani separatist and he was wanted in India on various terror charges.

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