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Punjab CM raises Khalistan issue with Trudeau; gets assurance that Canada did not support any separatist movement

Amarinder had refused to meet Canadian defence minister last year and even dubbed him and other ministers of Punjab-origin in the Trudeau government as Khalistani sympathisers.

Published: 21st February 2018 03:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st February 2018 05:28 PM   |  A+A-

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau with Punjab CM Amarinder Singh (Twitter @capt_amarinder)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with his defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan today and raised the issue of Khalistan and gave a list of nine Category 'A' Canada-based operatives alleged to be involved in hate crimes in Punjab.

Trudeau assured Amarinder that his country did not support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere. The categorical assurance from Trudeau came when Amarinder sought the Canadian Prime Minister’s cooperation in cracking down on separatism and hate crime by a fringe element, constituting a minuscule percentage of Canada’s population.

[SEE PHOTOS | Justin Trudeau visits Golden Temple in Amritsar with family]

Citing the separatist movement in Quebec, Trudeau said he had dealt with such threats all his life and was fully aware of the dangers of violence, which he had always pushed back with all his might, the Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral said after the meeting.

During a 40-minute long meeting here between the two leaders, Amarinder handed over to Trudeau a list of nine Category `A’ Canada-based operatives alleged to be involved in hate crimes in Punjab by financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities and also engaged in trying to radicalize youth and children here.

At the meeting, at which Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Punjab Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present, the Chief Minister raised the issue of Indo-Canadians believed to be involved in targeted killings in Punjab, urging him to take cognizance of the same and initiate stern action against such elements.

Though freedom of speech was enshrined in the Indian Constitution, separatists and hardliners as well as those propagating violence had lost any such right as they had been rejected outright by the people of Punjab, said Amarinder. He pointed out that people fighting elections on the plank of a separate Sikh state ended up losing their security deposits, said Thukral.

During the meeting, Amarinder called for cooperation between India and Canada on the issues of terrorism, crime and drugs, while seeking greater sharing of relevant information, in the interest of national and international security.

Responding to concerns raised in some quarters on reports of Human Rights violations, the Chief Minister said any aberrations were always dealt with strictly, with even policemen being sent to jail by the courts in such cases. He reiterated his government’s firm commitment to the protection of human rights of all individuals.

Pointing out that trade and commerce relations between the two were very low at the moment, the Amarinder urged the prime minister to take steps to push investment by Canadian businesses in Punjab.

The two leaders agreed to collaborate through joint projects aimed at facilitating the progress of both, Canada and India.

The Chief Minister mentioned his government’s `Connect with Your Roots’, which he said could facilitate youth from Punjabi Diaspora in Canada to come and see Punjab, and urged the Canadian government to support the programme. Both Trudeau and Sajjan appreciated the effort and agreed with the Chief Minister that it would help a whole new generation of youngsters who had never seen India.

This was the first time any Punjab Chief Minister met the Prime Minister of Canada.

Amarinder had earlier refused to meet Trudeau, claiming the Canadian Prime Minister’s cabinet members supported the formation of Khalistan. Amarinder in April last year during Canadian Defence Minister Sajjan’s visit to India called the Canadian MP a ‘Khalistani sympathiser.’ Amarinder felt Sajjan was advocating for the formation of Khalistan.

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