A video purportedly made by Sikh separatist leader and Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) legal counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannun asking Hindus of Indian origin to leave Canada, has triggered controversy. This comes amid Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's accusations that India orchestrated the murder of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
In the video doing rounds on social media platform X, Pannun, who has been designated a terrorist by the Indian Government, is heard openly threatening Hindus. "Indo-Hindu leave Canada; go to India. You not only support India but you are also supporting the suppression of speech and expression of pro-Khalistan Sikhs."
While urging the Canadian Sikhs to vote on October 29 for a so-called referendum in Vancouver, Pannun said: "You are supporting violence by celebrating the assassination of Shaheed Nijjar."
Mr. @JustinTrudeau your beloved #SikhsForJustice gave open threat to Indian Hindus to leave #Canada.— Sukhman Randhawa (@sukh_randhawa14) September 19, 2023
If you think you'll win by gaining #Sikh votes, you're highly mistaken. Your frustation is evident, You cannot fool your citizens for long. pic.twitter.com/86B8pdCptY
The video has prompted a backlash with some organisations bringing it to the attention of authorities. Vijay Jain, a spokesperson for Canadian Hindus for Harmony, said they were now witnessing full-scale Hinduphobia.
Jain said the recent development may stoke anti-Hindu sentiment. "We are worried that this may translate into the loss of Canadian Hindu lives as in 1985," he was quoted by Hindustan Times. Jain was referring to the Khalistani bombing of the Air India Montreal-London–Delhi–Bombay flight in June 1985, which killed 307 passengers and 22 crew members on board.
Pannun, who was hiding since the death of Nijjar, surfaced in New York in July to threaten Indian diplomats. He acknowledged that he was the brain behind the 'Kill India' campaign launched by Khalistani separatists.
Vowing to avenge Nijjar's death, Pannun said he authorised these posters against diplomats because they "represent a state which is responsible for the assassination of Nijjar."
In a video, Pannun said he wasn't hiding and would continue to work for the secession of Punjab and the disintegration of the Indian Union. "I am very much alive. I meet people every day. I am not absconding or underground. news the Indian agencies are putting out," he said, while refuting his death rumours.
Following this, India has reached out to the US, UK and Canada urging them to provide security to Indian missions and diplomats.