The bilateral relations between India and Canada keep deteriorating, and now, in a way that appears to vindicate the position held by New Delhi regarding the harboring by Ottawa of Sikh terrorists that pose a real threat to India.
A prominent Khalistani separatist leader, denominated as terrorist by Indian authorities, recorded a video warning Sikhs not to travel on Air India flights later this month, mentioning life-threatening consequences if they do.
Canada-based Gurpatwant Singh Pannun made multiple threats of danger to those travelling by the Indian air company on 19 November.
“’We are asking the Sikh people to not fly via Air India on 19 November. There will be a global blockade. Do not travel by Air India or your life will be in danger’, he said, repeating the threats in a video circulating on social media. ‘It is my warning to the government of India’, said Mr Pannun, who was earlier rumored to have been killed in a car accident in the US.”
Pannun also claimed New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport would be shut down on 19 November, calling for its name to be changed to the name of her two assassins.
The day was not chosen by accident: India is hosting the final match of the international men’s cricket World Cup on the same date.
“’It is the same day on which the final match of the World Terror [sic] Cup will be played. It will be shown to the world that a genocide of Sikhs happened in India and India did it. When we liberate Punjab, the name of these airports will be Shahid Beant Singh and Shahid Satwant Singh airport’, said Mr Pannun, referencing the two separatist leaders who assassinated former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984.”
Indian officials declared they would discuss the threat with Canadian authorities.
“’We shall take up the threat against Air India flights originating from and terminating in Canada, with the concerned Canadian authorities’, India’s high commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, told the Indian newspaper Hindustan Times.”
Indian authorities have seen the video issued by the Khalistani leader.
“’We have studied the contents of the video, which is in clear violation of the Chicago Convention, which lays out a framework for international civil aviation operations. Canada and India, among many other nations, are parties to the convention’, the envoy said.”
The threats bring to mind the terrorist attack orchestrated by Khalistan leaders in 1985, that killed 329 people on board Air India flight 182.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau claimed there was Indian involvement in the murder of Canadian citizen and Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Canada withdrew 41 diplomats from India after New Delhi in September asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence following Canada’s allegations over Nijjar’s killing.
“This is not the first time that SFJ chief Pannun has issued a threat. In September, he urged Hindu-Canadians to leave Canada amid a diplomatic row between India and Canada over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, in a video that circulated on social media, said pro-Khalistan Sikhs have consistently shown loyalty to Canada. He then went on to threaten Indo-Canadian Hindus, urging them to leave the country.”