UK Sikhs Upset Over Captain’s ‘Khalistani’ Remark Against Sajjan 

UK Sikhs called Amarinder’s ‘pro-Khalistan’ comments against Harjit Sajjan an ‘expression of immaturity’. 

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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had accused Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of being a Khalistani sympathiser. (Photo: PTI/<b>The Quint</b>)

As Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan successfully concluded his week-long visit to India, steering clear of controversy created by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh about his pro-Khalistani credentials, Sikh circles in the UK continue to grudge the CM's cold-shoulder treatment to the politically most distinguished Sikh currently in the world.

UK Sikhs: Reaction of Amarinder an ‘Expression of His Immaturity’

Reactions vary from disappointment and regret to harsh and vocal criticism of Captain Amarinder Singh. Majority of the Sikh diaspora is extremely proud of Harjit Singh Sajjan and his other Sikh colleagues who have made it to the Canadian Cabinet through their community work and perseverance.

Many people feel the fact that Supreme Court of India doesn’t consider peaceful demand for Khalistan as unlawful or seditious, the issue being raked by Captain Amarinder Singh, is “a regretful expression of his immaturity and lack of diplomacy”.

Being a pro-Khalistani doesn’t make Sajjan a less honourable Defence Minister of Canada. He’s visiting India to strengthen bilateral ties between two countries, and if Captain loves his country so much, he should know better how these ties impact India globally.
Bhai Amrik Singh, chair, Sikh Federation UK

“It is not for anyone to ask or suggest whether or not Harjit Singh Sajjan is a Khalistani or of his politics. What's that got to do with anything? He is the Canadian Defence Minister who happens to be a Gursikh – that is the only correct role that he should be considered in and engaged with. Of course, as Sikhs, we are inspired by his illustrious career. One would have thought that Captain as a Sikh would also be delighted! Undermining his achievement by attacking him personally is unjust and fallacious. When the Panth, in a structured manner through the correct channels, asks for views on Khalistan from the Sikhs, then, and only then, Harjit Singh, along with the global Sikh community may give their views,” says Gurmel Singh Kandola, General Secretary of Sikh Council, UK.

Amarinder’s Actions ‘Shameful’ And ‘Petty’

Meanwhile, Gurmail Singh Malhi, president of the biggest gurdwara in the UK, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall, has expressed disappointment at Punjab Chief Minister’s pro-Khalistan remark.

This puts the entire Sikh diaspora community in a bad light. Sajjan should be treated with the dignity that he and his office deserve, and not be drawn into unfortunate controversies.
Gurmail Singh Malhi, president, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall

“Sikhs around the world can learn a lot from Sajjan’s awe-inspiring credentials. He has been democratically elected to the Canadian Parliament and rightfully chosen as the defence minister. It is shameful that Captain Amarinder Singh has chosen his personal bias to cloud this historic tour for the entire Sikh community in India and abroad. It’s very petty to not accord warmest of welcomes and honours that Sajjan deserves as per his office and stature,” says Jaswant Singh Thekedar, president of Gurdwara Miri Piri Sahib, Southall.

‘Khalistan Not a Cuss Word’

“Khalistan is not a cuss word. It’s an expression of political nationalism. Therefore, if Sajjan has any soft corner for this long-standing political demand for the Sikhs, it’s his personal matter. He is visiting India not in his personal capacity but as a representative of the Canadian government. For a state chief minister to think and act otherwise, for a national guest, is unacceptable. Captain’s stance would only further alienate the pro-Khalistan Sikhs from the mainstream,” says Sukhwinder Singh, president of International Khalsa Organisation, a humanitarian organisation based in London.

(Kamalpreet Kaur is a freelance journalist based in London, working with TV, radio, print and digital platforms. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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