Wake-up Call for the West

3 Min
Wake-up Call for the West

Rattan Saldi*

The attempt by Khalistani radical elements to burn the Indian Consulate in San Francisco is a wake-up call to the liberal Eldorado of the world to revisit its commitment to human rights and democracy.

The appearance of ‘kill India’ posters in Canada and Britain also highlight the urgency for calibrated action to thwart the game plan of elements undermining the sovereignty of India.

Over the past three-four decades, the Western nations have become safe haven for Sikh and Islamist terrorists.

The bombing of Air India flight Kanishka on June 23, 1985 and the 11 September 2001 suicide attacks in New York, killing thousands of people should have made the West to come to grips with the reality of their misplaced exuberance over unfettered freedoms, but they did not. Even now they refuse to look beyond their nose in their penchant to deliver homilies to the world.

It is this failure that has facilitated the burning of San Francisco consulate building on July 2. It was the second attack on the building. Four months ago, in the month of March, Khalistani radicals broke through the barricades and smashed the windowpanes of the consulate. They also tried to hoist their Khalistan flag, raising slogans against India.

This attack and the subsequent arson are an attempt to avenge the killing of Canada – based Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who headed the proscribed Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). Two unidentified assailants had shot him dead at a gurudwara in the British Columbia on June 18.

Vote bank politics in Canada have given a fresh lease to Khalistani extremists, who have become hyper active with rallies in Toronto and Vancouver amongst other cities. They are naming and blaming Indian diplomats and security agencies for the death of Nijjar.

Another vocal head of radical organization, Khalistan Commando Force Paramjit Singh Panjwar was shot dead in Lahore, Pakistan on May 6. Avtar Singh Khanda, a member of the Khalistan Liberation Force died of cancer in a Birmingham hospital.

The Khalistani militants are milching these deaths to spread their tentacles by blaming India.

Since February, the West has been witnessing a spurt in incidents of vandalism against temples and gurudwaras and Indians missions. The surge is said to be a rection to the arrest in India of self-styled Khalistani preacher Amritpal Singh. He had migrated to India from Dubai last September to head a secessionist outfit ‘Waris Punjab De’ (Heirs of Punjab) known to be indulging in activities. His luck ran out this February and he was hauled up in a kidnapping and extortion case. And his arrest had sparked Khalistani violence in London.

Swaminarayan temple in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Mill Park were smeared with hate messages against Hindus and India, and painted with pro-Khalistan graffitis. Another iconic temple Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs was subjected to vandalism. These attacks took place hours after the Khalistan supporters, on the evening of 15 January, tried to garner support for their referendum through a car rally in Melbourne.

According to a report by The Australia Today, the Khalistani goons recorded a video of their despicable act of vandalizing the Swaminarayan Mandir and shared the video on social media claiming it to be their “brave act”. Indian government and the Indian diaspora raised the issue at the highest level with the Australian Prime Minister, but no corporal punishment appears to have been meted out so far to any culprit.

The growth and graph of Khalistani campaign shows the flip-side of West’s commitment to liberal values. It is no more than rampant misuse mischievously. Granting and guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression are lofty ideals but the freedom is not a license to spew venom or preach radicalism. Sikh militants roam around freely and are tapping social media and other avenues to give secessionist calls against India. No action is taken against them beyond verbal warnings.

Posters like ‘Kill India’ and blitzkrieg of rallies against India on the social media reflect poorly on the governments of the land and their adherence to the rule of law. It is time the western countries notably the United States and Canada realise the grave threat to their very own social fabric from the menace of extremism, and the rampant gun culture that has been drawing innocent blood at night clubs, schools, hospitals and even marketplaces.

In their own interest, the US, UK, Canada, Australia and the like should not allow space to Khalistani radicals. And as a matter of good relations with India, which they have been professing. Time for hollow assurances is over. It is time for sustained action at the ground level, as India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has said repeatedly.

Frankly, there can never be any room for terrorist activities in a democracy. More so when these terrorists are migrants from a developing country and are blatantly misusing the hospitality to propagate secessionism against a friendly country. This was the message India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had conveyed to his British counterpart when they met in New Delhi recently. It is time for the West to heed the wake-up call in their own larger geo-political and strategic interests.

*The writer is a veteran broadcast journalist