Thursday, September 15, 2022
TORONTO: Community tensions have risen in Canada’s multicultural district of Brompton after the police arrested an Indo-Canadian man for tearing Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's banner in the city of Caledon, Ontario, ahead of the September 18 voting for the Khalistan Referendum.
Thirty-eight years after he was killed in ‘Operation Blue Star’ in Amritsar, India, nationalist Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is regarded as a martyr, saint and icon of Khalistan movement by tens of millions of Sikhs.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) confirmed that it has charged an Indo-Canadian man with criminal mischief for vandalism and creating community tensions in Caledon, which is home to thousands of Sikhs.
Reacting to the incident, the Sikh citizens of Caledon condemned the act that hurt their sentiments about their revered figure.
Two videos that went viral on social media provided evidence that Shaheed Bhindranwale’s billboard at a main roundabout was vandalised and a man tore down the pictures of the Sikh leader from the billboards that promoted Khalistan Referendum.
It is understood that the elements involved in vandalising Khalistan Referendum banners have attempted to anger pro-Khalistan Sikhs who have taken out large-scaleallies in support of September 18 voting.
A video of “Khalistan Zindabad” and “Hindustan Murdabad” graffiti outside famous BAPS Mandir, Toronto also went viral on social media with both Hindu and Sikh netizens blaming each other for the vandalism. However, no one has been arrested in connection to the attack on the temple.
Here is the video showing the “Khalistan Zindabad” slogan written at the entrance of the local Hindu temple.
Responding to the video, several netizens expressed hate for the Sikh community. Several users called for graffiti against Sikh Gurdwaras in Surrey and Brampton in response to the graffiti.
Local Indian community leaders have also confirmed that hooligans targeted Khalistan Referendum banners and posters with Shaheed Bhindranwale pictures.
Khalistan Referendum campaign — in which Sikhs are asked to answer the question “Should Indian governed Punjab be an independent country?” — has drawn fierce opposition from New Delhi, Indian media and pro-India segments of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). It’s being organised by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) — a secessionist human rights group which has held Khalistan referendum voting in the UK and Europe, drawing tens of thousands of Sikhs.