For India a breakup means partition. That was a hugely bloody event. Punjab becoming an independent country is not an option.
And it is not like a large section of Sikhs in India are clamoring to become a separate country. The opposite is true. Those who advocate a separate country are small in number, and suggest an armed path. That roadmap is not available, but can lead to much meaningless violence. So to India the whole issue feels like a fight against terrorism, something its arch nemesis Pakistan specializes in. Government agencies in Pakistan openly coordinate with terrorist organizations. To them it feels like an asymmetrical war. There is a large gap otherwise between India's army and Pakistan's army, India's economy and Pakistan's economy, India's prospects and Pakistan's prospects.
And it is not like Pakistan is ready to let go of the Punjab inside its borders. But many in the Pakistani establishment daydream of India's Punjab some day becoming India's Bangladesh.
Free speech should be protected. If there are Sikhs who would like to argue Punjab should become its own country, they, of course, should be allowed to do so. There are a dozen such arguments inside India today. As long it is peaceful free speech, it is tolerated inside India itself. So, no, this is not a free speech issue. India is the largest democracy. I don't think people running India struggle to understand free speech and peaceful protest.
But threatening violence, and organizing violence, and coordinating violence, and fundraising for violence all meet the defintions of terrorism. They meet the definitoins of domestic terrorism inside the US. India's gripe is the Canadian government seems to tolerate such acts.
There is no provision in the Indian constitution for Punjab or any other territory to organize a referendum and gain independence. Punjab is no Quebec. But that is not the issue. The issue is terrorism. Most Sikhs inside Canada are not clamoring for an independent Khalistan. But there is a vocal minority that seems to drown out the rest. It is basic democratic decorum to also listen to the silent majority.
Sikhs might be numerical minorities. Operation Blue Star was unfortunate. The anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi's assassination were wrong and criminal. But Punjab is one of the richest states in India. Sikhs have had outsize influence inside India. There have been Sikh Prime Minister and President of India. That can not be said of most similar numerical minorities inside India.
A separate country called Punjab is not likely. But a Sikh Prime Minister of Canada is only a matter of time. It is not possible to create a country where only Sikhs are citizens. But if Canada gets a Sikh Prime Minister some day, its very own Manmohan Singh, then that would be a remarkable achievement for the Sikh community, and a major footnote to the illustrious Sikh history.
The Sikhs were at the forefront of the Indian independence movement. Punjab bore the brunt of the violent India-Pakistan partition. The Sikhs are the most visible component of the Indian Army. Sikhs live everywhere in India. And Sikhism is like a bridge religion between Hinduism and Islam.
If Jagmeet Singh's party wins more seats than Justin Trudeau's party in the next election, Trudeau's party would be the junior partner in the next government.
1990. Photo taken in our rent-controlled Toronto apartment with my mom’s artwork on the wall. Elon’s first suit - $99 and included a shirt, tie and socks. I couldn’t afford a second suit, so he wore the same suit every day to work. I gave him a manicure. Memories… 😍 https://t.co/1KkdIgxXf7— Maye Musk (@mayemusk) October 1, 2023
The India Canada Misunderstanding https://t.co/GEPPJLwGoK @narendramodi @PMOIndia @PM_nepal_ @DrSJaishankar @AmitShah @SrBachchan @republic @BDUTT @timesofindia @INCIndia @TheEconomist @EconomicTimes #india #canada #trudeau #sikh #punjab #sikhism #khalistan— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) October 1, 2023