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Ontario and BC Gurdwaras Bodies Register Protest Against India’s ‘Discriminatory’ CAA

December 27, 2019 | By

Surrey/Brampton: The British Columbia Gurdwaras Council (BCGC) and Ontario Gurdwaras Committee (OGC) register have registered their protest at the recent enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Government of India.

“The CAA is discriminatory and violative in its treatment of individuals based on religion (primarily the Muslim community) and of the basic structure of what India’s own Constitution is founded on. Further, the Act is inconsistent with India’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as the international law principle of non-refoulement of refugees, irrespective of caste, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or political ideology”, reads joint a statement issued by these two bodies on December 23, 2019.

Moninder Singh [File Photo]

Moninder Singh, Spokesperson for the BCGC and President of Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar in Surrey BC, stated “These discriminatory steps are nothing new for India, which has consistently been a focus of international human rights groups around the world for its poor human rights record and not ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The ongoing occupation of Punjab and Kashmir and the subjugation and oppression inflicted upon the indigenous peoples of the Indian subcontinent, is long-standing evidence of India’s attempt to quash any form of dissent and protest. We believe these types of “Acts” are steps towards the fulfillment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP’s claims to turn India into a Hindu Rashtar (state). We outright condemn the violence inflicted upon innocent civilians, protestors, and activists by the Indian Government.”

In order to silence entire movements within its borders, India has allowed its police and para-military forces to move against activists by firing on unarmed protestors, arbitrarily arresting peaceful agitators, brutally torturing activists, and extra-judicially murdering prominent individuals. The right to protest is a cornerstone of any constitutional democracy and it is nothing short of shocking to see how brazenly India has quashed the fundamental right of protest under Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b) of its own Constitution.

A view of police crackdown on students during a protest against CAA

Amarjit Singh Mann, Spokesperson for the OGC, added “This is the true face of India which is now continuously and brazenly coming to the forefront after 5 years of Prime Minister Modi’s BJP fascist rule and unfortunately, we can likely expect worse over the next 5 years of their rule. The use of violence by India’s security forces against University students in India to silence protest on the CAA is despicable and is reminiscent of life under a fascist police state. The Canadian Government must raise its voice with its counterparts in India to condemn both the CAA and the unnecessary use of violence which has killed dozens of protestors across India. We have seen silence on issues of human rights abuses in India in the past from our Government in Canada and if this silence continues in this instance, it would be an unfortunate representation of opportunistic politics which continuously places economic ties between the two nations ahead of the importance of upholding human rights for all peoples throughout the world.”

The BCGC and OGC have forwarded their concerns in writing on the CAA and the ongoing use of violence by the Indian government to silence dissent to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francois-Philippe Champagne. Both the BCGC and OGC are also looking at opportunities to meet with MP’s in their respective regions to relay their concerns to ensure the seriousness and gravity of the CAA and use of violence on its own citizens by the Government of India is addressed appropriately. Our elected officials in Canada must, at a minimum, raise their voices against discriminatory laws and the loss of innocent lives in India, for which the Government of India is responsible for in both instances.

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