Stop Misuse of Freedom of Speech to Glorify ‘Terrorists,’ India Tells Canada

Virander Paul, India's deputy permanent representative to UN, says Canada should form stronger framework to prevent misuse of freedom of expression to incite violence and glorify terrorists as martyrs.


India has asked the Justin Trudeau-led Canadian government to ensure that freedom of expression is not misused to incite violence, and glorify as “martyrs” individuals who are considered “terrorists” by the Indian government, the Hindustan Times reported.

India’s stance was reiterated by Virander Paul, the country’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, during the “Canada – Interactive Dialogue” at a session of the universal periodic review of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The issue assumes significance in light of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s botched visit to India in February. Trudeau’s trip was mired in controversies following the inclusion of former Khalistani militant Jaspal Atwal in the guest list of an official Canadian event in Mumbai. Atwal’s presence brought to fore India’s concerns over separatist elements in the country, where events have been organized to campaign for Khalistan and honor reported anti-India “terrorists.”

India’s six recommendations to Canada, given by Paul, included the strengthening of “framework to prevent misuse of freedom of expression to incite violence and glorify terrorists as martyrs,” according to the report.

India has further asked Canada to “stop racial profiling and other discriminatory practices by the police and security agencies,” the report added. It also asked for effective measures to be put in place for reduction of high levels of poverty and food insecurity among indigenous people, and better access to healthcare, education, adequate housing and other basic necessities for them.

Also recommended was implementation of “existing measures effectively for improving gender equality with a view to enhancing women’s participation in decision making, full time employment and equal pay for equal work,” the publication reported.

“Remove inequality and discrimination faced by persons with disabilities in realization of right to education, work, employment, healthcare, affordable housing and other basic needs,” India further recommended, the report added.

On his visit to India, Trudeau had insisted that Canada stood for a “united India” and denied allegations that Sikh ministers in his administration were Khalistan sympathizers.

Meanwhile, Canada’s National Security Advisor Daniel Jean, who floated the theory that “rogue elements” in Indian establishment tried to sabotage Trudeau’s India trip, is set to retire later this month. He is going to be replaced by current Cyber-security Chief Greta Bossenmaier. She will assume charge on May 23.

Jean, who was commended by Trudeau for an “exceptional career” since his appointment in May 2016, had a tumultuous last few months due to his statements over Atwal’s presence. He later said in a public testimony before the House of Commons’ Public Safety and National Security Committee that he “never” raised a “conspiracy theory,” and that “it was definitely not the government of India” that was behind the incident.

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