If I was a Liberal, I'd be nervous about the close relationship between the Liberal Party and the World Sikh Organization.
The World Sikh Organization advocates an independent Sikh state, but does not advocate violence.
At the same time, its supporters have often praised and defended those who use violence in the separatist cause. In B.C., World Sikh Organization leader Daljit Singh Sandhu praised Air India bomb-maker Inderjit Reyat as a friend and a good man. In 2002 and 2003, past and present WSO presidents were on the advisory board of Sanjh Savera, a Punjabi weekly in Ontario, when it published front pages praising Sikh assassins who murdered Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India and former Indian army chief of staff Gen. Arun Sridhar Vaidya.
The headline on the Gandhi cover tells readers to "Bow to the martyrs who got rid of the sinner" - the martyrs being the two Sikh bodyguards who shot her.
So how is the WSO and the Liberal Party connected? The Sikh community, and the WSO in particular, formed a major voting block during the Liberal leadership convention, aligning with Gerard Kennedy and Stephane Dion against Bob Rae:
"There's no question that WSO exercised a significant influence at the Liberal convention," [MP Ujjal Dosanjh] said. "In fact, my wife was approached by a delegate who happened to be a Sikh not supporting Bob Rae - and didn't know who my wife was - who said, well, you shouldn't vote for Bob, because Bob expressed the issue of violence about Air India in his speech.
"It baffles me that you have delegates on the floor of a major political party to which I belong who do not want a reference to Air India in a candidate's speech," Dosanjh said.
Some 250 Sikh delegates followed Kennedy's decision to support the eventual winner, Stephane Dion. Kennedy's campaign manager in Ontario was Sikh MP Navdeep Bains. Bains recently praised the high journalistic standards of Sanjh Savera, although the paper was recently accused by Bains's fellow Liberal, Dosanjh, of threatening him with a beating.
The Sanjh Savera newspaper and tbe WSO are closely connected. Liberal MP Navdeep Bains has praised "the high journalistic standards of Sanjh Savera", even as fellow Liberal MP Ujal Dosanjh has asked the RCMP to investigate whether the editor had threatened to beat on Dosanjh for past criticism of Sikh separatist violence.
What did Bob Rae do that annoyed the WSO so much? Bob Rae wrote a report on the Air India Bombing and the subsequent investigation and prosecution at the request of Paul Martin. He laid the blame squarely on violent Sikh separatists. Coincidently, the WSO followed Kennedy and then Dion, and Bob Rae lost his bid to be Liberal leader.
As Liberal leader, Stephane Dion voted to kill provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, a decision many thought was payback to the Sikh community. The RCMP were preparing to use those provisions to proceed further in the Air India investigation. Stephane Dion's decision wrecked that:
RCMP deputy commissioner Gary Bass, a veteran commander of the Air India Task Force, said the vote "represents a severe and damaging blow."
Still, Stephane Dion's decision was a popular one with the WSO.
Indeed, the WSO has said Sikhs were not behind the Air India Bombing, Bob Rae's report notwithstanding.
In 2000, the WSO said it was a technical malfunction:
"Sikhs did not bomb Air India 182"
- headline on a November 2000 press release by the World Sikh Organization. The release claimed that a cargo door fell off the plane.
The preponderance of the evidence made this position laughable (including, of course, the second bomb that exploded on the ground in Japan). The WSO changed the theory. In July 2007, the WSO had accepted that a bomb brought down the Air India flight, but maintained that Sikh separatists did not do it.
So who did kill 390 Indian men, women, and children, 280 of them being Canadian citizens?
Indian agents of course:
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) has read the story "Operation Silence" by Tehelka.com with considerable interest.
If the report is correct and Talwinder Singh Parmar was arrested, interrogated for 4 days and then killed in a staged encounter, the Punjab Police and Government of India have some serious questions to answer. Why was Mr. Parmar tortured in custody during interrogation? Why was Mr. Parmar not tried in a court of law? What was being covered up by this extra-judicial killing? The Tehlka report indicates it was to shield the involvement of Indian agents in the Air India tragedy. If this is true, it is a shocking shame that must be condemned by the Government of Canada.
The WSO is an intervenor at the Air India Inquiry and has every confidence that the Commission will fully investigate all the questions raised by the Tehelka report no matter how uncomfortable they may be and no matter who might be implicated. The Sikh community and the Air India Victims' families have waited 22 years for the truth and we hope that this wait will not be extended for much longer.
The Indian government destroyed this plane? Just to make Sikhs look bad?
The way the CIA staged 9/11 to frame the Muslims? Or is that the Jews blew up the World Trade Centre to trick the US into attacking Afghanistan?
What next? CSIS and the Mounties were in on the plan with India too?
In any case, despite the confidence of the WSO that they would be able to present to the inquiry, John C Major has said he is not interested in hearing from the WSO, as was reported today in the Calgary Sun:
The head of the Air India inquiry has rejected an effort by the World Sikh Organization to call evidence on the possibility the Indian government, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP all tried to discredit the Sikh community by blaming it for the 1985 bombing of a jumbo jet.
The bombing took 329 lives.
In a series of written rulings made public yesterday, former Supreme Court justice John Major turned down requests by the WSO to call journalist Zuhair Kashmeri and former MP David Kilgour as expert witnesses.
Oh look, CSIS and the Mounties were in on the bombing after all. Of course, it all makes sense now.
That the WSO as an organization takes seriously any nonsense that diverts attention from Sikh violence, even if it means alleging that CSIS and the RCMP were complicit in mass murder, is disturbing. That this group with an agenda that, at the very least, makes excuses for Sikh separatist violence, or that at worst, is a cheerleader for this violence, is also a group with ties to the Liberal Party and in particular to Stephane Dion is very disturbing.
I wonder if Stephane Dion is going to stand up and repudiate the allegations being promoted by the WSO that Canadian government agencies played a role in this terrorist attack. Is Stephane Dion going to pick Bob Rae over Gerard Kennedy? Ujjal Dosanjh over Navdeep Bains? Canada over votes?