June 11, 2010 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Canada (June 10, 2010): After being blocked by the Conservative government yesterday, Canadian Sikhs were able to introduce a petition asking Canada to recognize the November 1984 killing of Sikhs as “Genocide” as defined in Article 2 of the UN Convention on prevention and punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
“We cannot be silenced on this issue when nobody has faced justice,” said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a legal advisor for Sikhs for Justice. “Canada and the western world have a legal and moral obligation towards those Sikhs who fell victims to such a massacre. The present Indian government led by Mr. Manmohan Singh, who himself is a Sikh, must address the campaign for justice, in order to ease the sense of mass grief that is abundantly prevalent in the Sikh community.
“International and Canadian law is very clear on the issue of genocide and those choosing not to call it genocide have not explained the difference between the definition and the events of November 1984.”
As per the parliamentary rules of procedure, the petition (with 10,000+ names) has been referred to Foreign Affairs Committee for its response which is due in 45 days. In the meantime, Sikhs of Justice will write to the Foreign Affairs Committee requesting a hearing before the committee to present evidence, documents and witnesses related to the November 1984 Sikh Genocide. Some witnesses are Canadian citizens who saw the killing of their family members in November 1984.
Pannun further stated that, if the Canadian government denies their request for a hearing or if the government’s response to the petition is not adequate, Canadian Sikhs will work to present a “motion” to have the November 1984 killing of Sikhs recognized as genocide.
Liberal MPs Andrew Kania (Brampton West) and Sukh Dhaliwal (Newton-North Delta) presented the petition in the House on behalf of their constituents.
“What happened to Sikhs in India in November 1984 is genocide,” explained Dhaliwal. “I urge the Canadian government to take action by raising this matter with the Indian government.”
Yesterday, a commemorative ceremony took place on the front lawn of parliament where many Members of Parliament voiced their support, including: Kania, Dhaliwal, Bob Rae (Toronto Centre), Rob Oliphant (Don Valley West), Bonnie Crombie (Mississauga South), Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North), Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East), Mark Holland (Ajax Pickering) and Jean Dorion (Longueuil -Pierre Boucher). NDP leader also voiced his support in an earlier statement.
Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minster of India, is due to visit Canada for the G-20 summit. Leaders of the Sikh community have sent a written request meet with Prime Minister Singh to dismiss the notion that the Canadian Sikh community supports any kind of militancy or separatist movement. According to Pannun, the Sikh community holds India as their ancestral motherland and wish India to thrive economically. All they want from India is to act on its responsibility with regard to imparting justice to the victims of Sikh Genocide. This, Pannun assured, will restore and enhance India’s reputation in the world and will make the Indian Diaspora proud.
The petition presented to parliament was supported by the Ontario Gurudwaras Committee, the Ontario Sikh and Gurudwara Council, as well as by Gurudwaras in Quebec, Alberta and B.C.
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