Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Congress against politics over Canadian defence minister row

Congress against politics over Canadian defence minister row

Calling Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan a "Khalistani sympathiser", Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said he would not meet him during his expected visit to India later this month. Sajjan, on his part, said: "I look forward to my first trip to India since becoming Canada's minister of national defence".

There was confusion today over whether a guard of honour will be given to Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan tomorrow.

The CM said while Sajjan was welcome to attend conferences and meets, and even to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, he would personally not entertain the Canadian minister. "There are, in fact, five ministers in the Justin Trudeau government who are Khalistani sympathisers, and I will not have any truck with them".

The Congress leaders further said that having been badly scarred by militancy in the past, Punjab could not afford to ignore such blatant signs of efforts to revive the Khalistani forces, which were simply waiting to draw out their fangs at the slightest opportunity.

Amarinder Singh has accused Sajjan, a highly decorated Afghan war veteran and former Vancouver police officer, of being a "Khalistani sympathiser" and refused to meet him, according to reports in the Indian media.

The Congress leader claimed that he had excellent relations with the previous NDA government at the Centre during his last tenure as the Chief Minister of Punjab. The Indian government refuses to recognize the anti-Sikh riots as genocide and estimates that 2,800 people died in the riots.

The pro-Khalistani leanings of Sajjan, scheduled to kick-start his controversial India visit on Monday evening, had been endorsed by several leaders of his own Liberal Party, many of whom had quit the party in protest against his candidature as a Liberal, the PPCC leaders pointed out.

"We reject this misguided motion which is based on a limited understanding of India, its constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and the judicial process", external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay was quoted by Hindustan Times.

"It will be a proud moment for all Sikhs in Punjab and across the globe when the SGPC will honour the Canadian minister at the Darbar Sahib, Amritsar on April 20", said SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar after inaugurating a dispensary in Patiala on Sunday.

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