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Tempest in a teapot
or strained Global relations?  

TORONTO – Integrating people of diverse backgrounds is neither easy nor quickly accomplished. Corriere Canadese and the Italian diaspora are no strangers to that process. It is generational to say the least. Perhaps that explains why Corriere received a copy of a letter purportedly issued by the High Commission of India (Embassy) in Ottawa to Global Affairs Canada, addressed to Director General for South Asia, David Hartman.

The letter dated March 2, 2021, and referenced below, draws attention to an escalating rift between Hindus and other unnamed Indian nationals in Brampton, Ontario. Couched in the niceties of diplomatic language is a concern that Hindus are being targeted for violence and that the perpetrators may be aided by local law enforcement officials.

The letter alleges that an otherwise peaceful rally on February 28 was disrupted by assaults documented by at least two social media posts with corroborating video evidence. It calls on “Canadian authorities concerned to immediately investigate… and strongly urge the Government of Canada to take all possible measures to ensure the continued safety and security of Indian nationals… living in Canada.”

Prior to the 2016 census, the estimated number of such national counted approximately one million people more or less equally divided between Hindu and Sikh and a third group of Tamils and Sinhalese who themselves comprise a significant presence in the GTA. The numbers are now notably higher, given the influx of immigrants from India in the last ten years. About 70% of Hindu expats make the GTA their home.

It further warns that such violence, “if left unchecked…[might] create law and order issues while negatively impacting the warm and friendly relations between India and Canada”. It does not stop there.

The High Commission of India points to “assaults, threats and criminal intimidation” against its nationals and alleges motivation “by forces that are inimical to the good relations between India and Canada”. Furthermore, it requests the Government of Canada keep the High Commission appraised of “the investigations and actions taken into the identification and prosecution of the extremist elements responsible…”

The Letter appears authentic. Corriere reached out to Global Affairs and the Office of the Mayor of Brampton for comment. As at time of printing, it had not received a response from the mayor’s office.

Local residents have emailed their concerns with the growing aggressiveness on the part of a free Khalistan sympathizers.

The turmoil these have generated has led to publicly expressed allegations of religious discrimination on the part of some MPs within the caucus of elected members from Brampton.

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, in an email said: “Global Affairs does not comment on state-to state correspondence”.

She added that “the RCMP takes threats to the security of individuals living in Canada very seriously and wants to reassure all Canadians that our primary focus is the safety and protection of the public at all times. While we cannot comment on any individual cases, anyone who feels threatened online or in person and should report these incidents to their local police”.

Contributions by Priscilla Pajdo, journalist/researcher at CNMNG.ca 

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