Amarinder Promises Security to Canadian Defence Minister, But No Meeting
However, Amarinder has said there will be no meeting with the first Sikh Defence Minister of Canada as he is a "Khalistani sympathiser".
A file photo of Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has promised full security and due treatment, as per protocol, to Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on his visit to India, and if he chooses to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar. However, Amarinder has said there will be no meeting with the first Sikh Defence Minister of Canada as he is a "Khalistani sympathiser".
The Chief Minister of Punjab went a step further and named several top Canadian government officials for allegedly leaning towards the demand for a separate Sikh homeland in India. “Not only Sajjan but other ministers and MPs, including Navdeep Bains, Amarjit Sohi, Sukh Dhaliwal, Darshan Kang, Raj Grewal, Harinder Malhi, Roby Sahota, Jagmeet Singh and Randeep Sari, were well known for their leaning towards the Khalistani movement,” Amarinder claimed.
Rejecting Canada’s defence of Harjit Singh Sajjan, Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said he stood by his principled stand of not associating himself with any Khalistani sympathiser.”
Former Punjab Deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday asked Amarinder “not to act petty and spiteful and give the defence minister of a sovereign country the respect he deserves”.
Reacting strongly to the statement made by Capt Amarinder Singh, the SAD president said, "Capt Amarinder should not have let a personal incident cloud his judgement and he should have refrained from making disparaging remarks against Sajjan as well as all other Punjabi representatives in the Canadian parliament. Punjabis worldwide are proud of their elected representatives in Canada and Sajjan is an example of personal accomplishment for the entire Punjabi diaspora. He should not be disrespected in this manner."
The Chief Minister said that while, as a democratic nation, India believed in the freedom of speech, which was enshrined in the Constitution, he would personally not meet any Khalistani sympathisers.
The Chief Minister said while Sajjan was welcome to attend conferences and meetings, and even to visit Darbar Sahib, he would personally not entertain the Canadian minister as he had concrete information about he being a Khalistani sympathiser, just as his father Kundan Sajjan, a board member of the World Sikh Organization, was.
Captain Amarinder also lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Dal Khalsa for their criticism of his refusal to meet the Canadian defence minister during the latter’s expected visit to India, later this month. He accused these outfits of playing into the hands of forces inimical to India.
In the run-up to the Punjab assembly polls, Amarinder Singh was denied permission to address rallies in Canada in 2016.
“It is unfortunate that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has not only insulted the Canadian Defence Minister, but entire Punjab in general, and Sikhs in particular, who have already proved their mettle on foreign land not only in business but in political arena as well by getting elected as MPs/MLAs to become Ministers,” AAP spokesperson and MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
“Captain Amarinder Singh’s 'outburst' against Canadian Defence Minister is nothing else, but his vindictive approach towards him as he (Chief Minister) wanted to take revenge from NRIs living in Canada because they did not welcome him (CM) during his pre-poll visit to Canada," added Khaira.
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