India asks Canada to check Sikh extremists

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto: Raising India’s concern over Sikh extremism in this country with his host Stephen Harper Sunday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he hoped Canada will not allow use of its soil for anti-India activities.

Answering a question at a media conference after inking the nuclear deal with Harper, Manmohan Singh said, “I have discussed with the PM the need to ensure that Canadian soil is not used to promote extremism.”

He said though the Canadian prime minister pointed to laws which put limitations on his government, it is “fully alive to its responsibilities to do the right thing.”

Appealing to the Sikh community in Canada to sideline extremists, the prime minister said, “It is my fervent hope thatthe Sikh community in Canada will not allow its religious institutions or other places for promoting extremist thought.”

He reminded the community that religious extremism “was not in tune with” the integrated global community which has embraced diversity and pluralism.

Referring to the 25th anniversary of the Air India bombing blamed on Sikh extremists, the prime minister said, “This terrible disaster and the suffering it has led to will forever remain a stark reminder of the need for all us to work unitedly to eliminate the scourge of terrorism”

He said the victims of the tragedy “deserve full justice.”

In their joint statement, the two prime ministers also referred to the Kanishka bombing and stressed greater cooperation in counter-terrorism between the two countries.

The prime minister will pay a visit to the Air India memorial here Monday before his departure for India.

The issue of Sikh extremism is also likely to come up when Manmohan Singh meets Canadian MPs and MLAs of Indian origin here Monday morning.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])