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`Khalistan is no longer an issue among Punjabis in Canada'

Staff Correspondent

CHANDIGARH: Resentment prevails among the Punjabi community settled in Canada, especially the Sikhs, as they feel that their image had been tarnished by unnecessary politicisation of the recent visit by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to the Dixie Gurdwara in Toronto there. This was disclosed by the coordinator of the Toronto-based Punjabi Press Club, Rajinder Saini, as he interacted with members of the Chandigarh Press Club during a "Ru-Ba-Ru'' programme here on Wednesday.

Contrary to the perception here, Khalistan is no longer a major issue among the Punjabis in Canada though many gurdwaras may have continued to display pictures of slain leaders of different militant groups.

Mr. Saini said that Punjabis in Canada were upset that the Dixie Gurdwara was described in the Indian media as a "hub of Khalistani activity''. He pointed out that while a furore was created here after a picture was published showing Capt. Singh addressing a gathering with the "Khalistan Zindabad'' slogan forming the backdrop, the Indian media conveniently ignored that the management of the shrine had passed a resolution dissociating itself from any separatist activity.

Mr. Saini, who edits a Punjabi magazine "Parvasi'' published simultaneously from four places including Toronto and Chandigarh, said that Capt. Singh was the first leader from Punjab, especially from the Congress, to receive an unprecedented reception from the Canadian Punjabis irrespective of their political affiliations. The issues of governance notwithstanding, Capt Singh has earned appreciation for taking some bold steps to safeguard the interests of Punjab, the river waters dispute being in particular.

Describing it as a landmark event for the Canadian Punjabis, Mr. Saini said that Capt Singh's visit had led to removal of many misconceptions about the present atmosphere in Punjab. His public interactions had not only blunted the remnants of "anti-India'' propaganda but also highlighted the achievements of the people of the State.

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