Chandigarh: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Captain Amarinder has written a fuming letter to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he was barred from addressing rallies of Sikh groups in Canada. The gag order purportedly comes after lobbying from an anti-India group.
In a strongly worded letter to the Canadian Prime Minister, Amarinder said he was disappointed over the “gag order” and that it had left a bad taste. He questioned the premise on which the permission had been denied to him.
It is a usual practice after the 1970s for Punjab politicians to go to Canada and America and campaign amongst their expats. In Punjab expats, NRIs, people from Punjab are actually stakeholders, and they campaign with their own money. So such visits and meetings in Canada and America are primarily financial, primarily political.
What is new and surprising here is that the Canadian PM himself has banned this interaction. It is not yet clear why he has done it and what are the exact reasons.
Manjit Singh of Siromani Akali Dal (SAD) said that Amarinder Singh should stick to campaigning in Punjab. Regarding the gag order, Manjit said that if such a law or rule existed then it should apply to all and not just to selective people.
Captain Amarinder in his letter clarified that he “neither represented any government at the moment, nor was he organising any election campaign since there are no elections scheduled in Punjab right now or in immediate future.”
The former Chief Minister added that he himself had not organised any of the programmes. They had been organised by the local Canadian citizens. He said he was there to be their guest only.
Here is an excerpt from Amarinder’s letter to the Canadian PM: “Your government’s GAG ORDER undermines these “Fundamental Freedoms”. After all it is not only I who has been denied these freedoms. Being an Indian citizen I have no claims to the freedoms you guarantee to your citizens. But this GAG ORDER has denied these freedoms of “expression”, “peaceful assembly” and “association”, to the Canadian citizens, who are the same people who have immensely contributed towards building up this beautiful country and you have yourself acknowledged that.”