The veteran Communist leader late Harkishan Singh Surjeet was remembered at a public event organized by the Indo Canadian Worker’s Association (ICWA) in Surrey this past Sunday. Surjeet, who led the Communist Party of India (Marxist) passed away on August 1, 2008. The event that was held to mark his fourth death anniversary was dominated by the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting that left seven people dead on August 5.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of the shooting victims.

The speakers emphasised on maintaining a vigil against racism and communalism in accordance with the principles of Surjeet, who was a die hard critic of religious fanaticism. The Newton North Delta MP Jinny Sims and Surrey Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar pointed out that racial intolerance continues to prevail even in Canada and the society needs to work together to end this hatred. Sims said that remembering secular leaders like Surjeet was not enough and the struggle against racism in all its forms must go on.

The moderate Sikh leaders, Balwant Singh Gill and Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal said that the Indo Canadian community needs to be vigilant against those spreading hatred both in the mainstream society and within the Indo Canadian community in the name of religion or caste.

The ICWA leaders Surinder Sangha and Kulwant Dhesi agreed. They pointed out that Surjeet was fully alert about the nefarious designs of such forces and did not let the Hindu nationalists or the Sikh separatists succeed in their mission to divide people both in India and Canada.

Others who spoke on the occasion were Surinder Dhesi of ICWA , former Students Federation of India leader, Hardev Singh, former Teachers Union leader from Punjab, Paramjit Gandhri, the Communist Party of Canada leader, Nazir Rizvi, a renowned scholar, Dr. Sadhu Singh and poet Paul Bilga.