Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is shedding light on his appearance at a 2015 rally in San Francisco at which speakers reportedly called for an independent Sikh nation known as Khalistan and honoured a violent militant.
Singh released a lengthy statement Wednesday after The Globe and Mail revealed his participation in what the newspaper called a Sikh separatist rally.
According to reporters Robert Fife and Steven Chase, Singh spoke on a stage that featured a poster of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a violent religious leader killed during India’s raid of the Golden Temple in 1984. Singh was a member of Ontario’s legislature at the time.
Singh says he’s focused on ‘building a stronger Canada’
The report notes that while many Sikhs see Bhindranwale as a martyr, he is “believed to be responsible for numerous killings, including the murder of Sikhs who opposed the creation of a Sikh-based theocratic state.”
In his release, Singh said he condemns all acts of terrorism and violence. The NDP leader also said that questions about the future of India are not for him to decide.
“I am not a citizen of India or an Indian politician. Self-determination means respecting the views of people in whatever country to choose their own path,” he said in his statement, adding he is focused on “building a stronger Canada.”
The Globe reported that the NDP leader had not responded to questions on whether he supports an independent Sikh state or sees Bhindranwale as a freedom fighter.
Singh said in the release that the event in San Francisco commemorated the “Sikh Genocide of 1984,” and that he was invited to speak as a human rights advocate. Singh noted that the Ontario legislature passed a motion in 2017 recognizing the deaths and disappearances of thousands of Sikhs at that time as genocide against a religious minority.
I have seen pain and anger and my approach has always been to give space to those feelings in order to work through them, but never to condone acts of violence.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh
The trauma from those events, he said, has been passed down through generations.
“I have seen pain and anger and my approach has always been to give space to those feelings in order to work through them, but never to condone acts of violence.”
Singh said his speech at the 2015 event centred on his path to learn more about his heritage and to better stand up for the marginalized.
“I encourage all …
Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel