Canadian Sikh organization files $2.5M defamation lawsuit against India


Canadian Sikh organizations fear the Indian government is trying to interfere in this fall's federal election.

Their concerns are based on a flurry of Indian media articles both last month and this month accusing Canadian Sikhs of inciting violence and militancy in Punjab and the Canadian government of supporting them.

The World Sikh Organization in Canada believes the October federal election is driving the stories because the Indian government wants to quiet the politically influential Sikh community here.

Nineteen Sikh MPs were elected in 2015, and most are seeking re-election.

A government report last fall listed Sikh extremism as one of five major terrorist threats.

After an outcry from the World Sikh Organization and other groups, Public Safety Canada revised the report to talk about extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India, instead of naming Sikhs as a community.

Sikhs for Justice, a Toronto-based human rights organization promoting the right of Sikhs to have their own independent state, filed a defamation suit in Ontario Superior Court earlier this month.

The 2.5-million-dollar suit alleges the Indian government was the source of at least three stories that falsely accuse Sikhs for Justice of colluding with the Pakistani intelligence agency to target Indian police officers and military personnel.