September 21, 2023 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh – Sikh Council of New Zealand (SCoNZ) puts on record the gratitude of its members to the Government of Canada, particularly Prime Minister Rt Hon
for taking a clear stand against the hounding and persecution of Sikhs by various tools of the Government of India. The comity of nations needs to send a clear message to the Government of India that such blatant violations of a people’s human rights and International Laws will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Government of India by its tyrannical actions has shown itself to be far from a country that respects rule of law. In fact it will not be an overstatement if India is called a rogue state instead of the propagandistic and self-serving moniker of “world’s largest democracy”. Democracy does not comprise simply of the act of voting it comprises of respect for rule of law (whether domestic or international), respect for freedom of speech (where merely calling for a people’s right to self-determination does not end up in such individuals being assassinated openly or under false flag operations) and accountability of everyone from Head of State sanctioning assassinations of individuals to a lowly policeman wielding their baton against peacefully protesting citizens. By ordering assassinations of select Sikh activists (advocating for the right of selfdetermination for the Sikhs) and wholesale incarceration (without trial and in some cases without any charges) of Sikhs having followers on social media or on the ground in Punjab, India has shown itself to be a rogue state like North Korea.
What worries us at the Sikh Council of New Zealand is the fact that India is making systematic efforts to manipulate the law enforcement agencies of other countries, including New Zealand. This poses a serious danger not only to the Sikh community everywhere including in New Zealand but also to the governing systems that have evolved to be more and more responsive to the citizens’ needs. An illustrative example of what we are referring to here is the recent report from Brisbane Police wherein their investigation pointed the finger at members of Australia’s Hindu community defacing their own temples with hateful graffiti and then seeking to blame the Sikhs for it.i The way these incidents were reported by some select media outlets in Australia with a clear anti-Sikh slant, made us conclude that the incidents and subsequent media reports seemed to have the Indian Government’s manipulative imprint all over them. However, due to lack of concrete evidence, we could not publicly make these allegations and instead put our trust in Australian Police to investigate and find the real culprits. We thank the police forces of Australia, New Zealand and Canada that they have virtually always been more than a match for the manipulative and false flag operations of the Government of India and its tools. This hounding of the Sikhs by the Government of India is not new. In fact two Canadian journalists, Zuhair Kashmeri and Brian McAndrew, reported this in their 1989 book Soft Target: “(Davinder Singh Ahluwalia, the then Indian Vice-Consul in Canada) had ingratiated himself with the Metro Police (Toronto). With the help of consul general, he mingled with senior officials in (Canada’s) government and in the Metro police department. He also won the confidence of police officers at the investigative level, most of them of Indian or Pakistani origin. Not surprisingly, the police turned to him for help in the search
for Samra (accused of shooting at a judge in court). For a vice-consul whose job was to promote his country and handle visa applications and other pleasantries that go with diplomatic life, Ahluwalia was playing a strange role in Toronto’s Sikh affairs. Clearly, he had an intelligence-gathering agenda. “According to one police officer, who helped organize a farewell lunch in 1985 for Ahluwalia: ‘Our [intelligence] files on the Sikhs were developed with his help. He used to wine and dine with the [police] brass. He would tell the Sikhs how he hated Indira Gandhi [former Indian Prime Minister responsible for the attack on the most sacred Sikh shrine at Amritsar, Punjab in June 1984]… …In this way he got the confidence of the Sikhs who would talk openly and he would create files on them. He would tell the police how much he appreciated what they were doing, that he was pro-police and they could rely on him to get them information. He would tell the police what they wanted to hear… …’ ” (Page 21).
Sikh Council of New Zealand has been observing with increasing trepidation the inroads that tools of Government of India have been making into New Zealand’s governing systems. Such individuals can easily be identified by even a cursory scrutiny of their actions. For instance, the case of a rightwing extremist Hindu named Tarun Madan charged by Auckland police for threatening some Sikhs of New Zealand for speaking up against undemocratic actions of Government of India, is a good case-study in this regard.ii From the first moment when concerns about this hatemonger were raised by the Sikhs and the time it took to charge him by police, there was at least one intervention from a high-ranking New Zealand police official of Indian/Hindu origin with clear aim of preventing concrete police action in this matter. The same police official has been instrumental in opening doors for extremist Hindu organisations based in New Zealand and individuals associated with
these organisations. This opening of doors has resulted in extremist Hindus making deep inroads in many sections of the Government of New Zealand and civil society. While opening doors for extremist Hindu organisations, this high-ranking police official of Indian origin has also been closing doors for those who Indian Government sees as a threat to its Hindu-supremacist agenda.
New Zealand media is also not immune to these Hindu-supremacists taking advantage of the general ignorance of the decision makers (most of whom are of non-South Asian origin) to escape editorial scrutiny and oversight to push their supremacist agenda in media spaces. One illustrative example of this is Gaurav Sharma’s work for Radio New Zealand. This gentleman has used the dog whistle of “Khalistanis” and “Khalistan” to push the Hindu-supremacist and Indian government agenda of labeling Sikh community as “terrorists” without saying it in so many words. Ironically, the Supreme Court of India in its 1995 judgement on Khalistan had opined that merely raising slogans in support of a free Khalistan is not seditious. The precedent that the Supreme Court applied in this case was a 1962 Supreme Court of India judgement (Kedarnath vs the State of Bihar AIR 1962 SC 955). The Supreme Court opined that sedition charges “apply only to acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder or disturbance of law and order or incitement of violence. This was done to avoid the provisions becoming violative of Article 19 of the Constitution which provides for freedom of speech and expression.” We hope that editorial oversight at Radio New Zealand and other NZ media outlets will be more rigorous around these issues that have the potential to victimize the whole Sikh community through employment of dog whistles.
In contrast, Prof Mohan Dutta of Massey University, himself a Hindu, has been doing some tremendous work in exposing these very inroads made by Hindu extremist outfits in New Zealand government and civil society. For his academic work, Prof Dutta has been subjected to extreme vitriol and hate by Hindu extremists to the extent that he fears for his life. His latest White Paper titled Hindutva-Linked Organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand: Bidirectional Flows and
Equivocation as Communicative Strategy is an invaluable addition to tabulating the New Zealand based hydra-headed structures, routinely used by Hindu-supremacists led by RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, an anti-Semitic, Nazi-sympathizing Islamophobic organisation) all over the world to flood a country’s systems and escape elimination even when actively countered.
Thus Sikh Council of New Zealand not only makes a clear distinction between extremist Hindus and moderate Hindus but advocates extreme care in safeguarding moderate Hindus from any backlash for the actions of extremist Hindus.
In conclusion, we will like to emphasize the fact that New Zealand as well as Australia, Canada and many other Western countries are vulnerable to manipulation of their governing systems and civil society organisations by Hindu extremists supported overtly or covertly by the current dispensation of the Government of India. The brunt of this manipulation has been and will be borne by the Sikh community and other persecuted religious and caste minorities of India. We put our faith in the Government of New Zealand and other Western countries to protect human rights of everyone, including Sikhs who are specifically being targeted for the last six decades by Government of India resulting in scores of deaths and other adverse events with Sikhs as victims.
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