Toronto, Feb 22 : Reacting to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's assurance to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to curb Sikh separatists in Canada, former Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh has said politicians in this country have failed to appreciate India's deep sensitivities about Khalistani activities.
"India is very sensitive about this issue because that country was partitioned in 1947 and 14 million people died.
Indians will under no circumstances allow another division of their country.
"Canadian politicians, including the Prime Minister, must start appreciating India's deep sensitivities on this issue," said Dosanjh, who was the first person of colour to become Premier (equal to Chief Minister) in Canada in 2000 when he was elected to the post in British Columbia.
He said Canadian politicians, including Trudeau, have been publicly associating with separatists for a long time without any backlash from India.
"There has been no blowback from India till now despite Canadian politicians going to parades, processions and events where posters of Air India bomber Talwinder Singh Parmar and other militants are displayed and they are celebrated as heroes.
"Our Prime Minister and politicians have been taking part in these events, but India has been silently watching this for many years.
I hope that Trudeau and others start appreciating India's worries," said Dosanjh.
The former Canadian Minister said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly took Trudeau aside at Davos and told him that Khalistani activities in Canada were becoming a serious issue.
He said that is why Trudeau's two ministers, Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi, made the statement that they have nothing to do with Khalistan just before their departure for India.
He said if Canadian politicians stop pandering to separatists and going to their events, the Khalistan movement will die quickly.
Dosanjh said Trudeau's statements about India's unity would be meaningless if politicians keep going to the events where militants are glorified.
"I cannot stop anyone from glorifying anyone, but what I can do is stop going to such events.
This is what Trudeau and other politicians should do now. Or they should insist that they will not attend such events if the killers of innocent people are glorified."
If Canadian politicians want to have good relations with India, they have to genuinely support the idea of a united India, Dosanjh said.
He also blamed India for not framing the issue properly to force Canada to act.
Trudeau is currently in India on an eight-day visit.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)