THE World Sikh Organization of Canada on Wednesday welcomed the tabling of An Act to Proclaim Sikh Genocide Awareness Week in the Ontario Legislature. The Private Members’ Bill was tabled by Brampton East MPP Gurratan Singh and calls for the proclamation of the first seven days of November as Sikh Genocide Awareness Week.
Gurratan Singh (NDP) represents the riding of Brampton East and is the brother of federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
The Bill recognizes that Sikhs continue to be impacted by the genocide and other atrocity crimes perpetrated by the Government of India both in 1984 and in the decade that followed.
In April 2017, the Ontario Legislature passed a Private Members’ Motion by then-MPP Harinder Malhi recognizing the Sikh Genocide.
The 1984 Sikh Genocide, in which thousands of innocent Sikh men, women and children were brutally attacked and murdered across India, was systematically orchestrated and carried out under the guidance of members of the then-ruling Congress Party of India. State actors like the police either turned a blind eye to the killings or engaged in the violence themselves. The Government of India’s Nanavati Commission Report acknowledged thst “but for the backing and help of influential and resourceful persons, killing of Sikhs so swiftly and in large numbers could not have happened.”
Tens of thousands of Sikhs lost their lives in 1984 and the decade the followed, however a full accounting has never been allowed to take place. Jaswant Singh Khalra, who was recognized as a defender of human rights by Amnesty International, uncovered thousands of cases of enforced disappearances but was himself abducted and allegedly killed by Indian security forces after a visit to Canada, sponsored by the WSO.
Senior officials and politicians responsible for the violence have not been brought to justice and continue to occupy senior positions in both government and police.
WSO President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said: “We welcome the tabling of An Act to Proclaim Sikh Genocide Awareness Week by Brampton East MPP Gurratan Singh. The acknowledgment of the Sikh Genocide and passing of this Bill will be deeply important to the Sikh community. This Bill will create an opportunity for the community to talk about the trauma it has suffered and share stories and lessons about the Sikh Genocide and other genocides that have occurred throughout the world. We call on all Ontario MPPs to support this Bill.”