NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stop stoking anti-Muslim sentiment in India.
In an outspoken intervention into Indian politics, Singh tweeted Thursday that he is concerned about evidence of Muslims being actively persecuted in that country.
“I am deeply concerned about images, videos and targeted threats of violence against the Muslim community in India,” he said.
His remarks are an apparent reference to a wave of attacks on Muslims and a viral video of a man issuing a rape threat to Muslim women.
There have also been reports of processions by right-wing Hindu groups who have made threats and chanted provocative slogans outside mosques and Muslims’ homes.
Singh, who is Sikh, says human rights must be protected and Canada must play a strong role in working toward peace everywhere.
In February, the House of Commons subcommittee on International Human Rights heard testimony about the persecution of India’s Muslim population.
Nury Turkel, vice-chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, warned MPs that governments “are losing sight of human rights violations and religious persecution in India against the Muslim population.”
“It is inconceivable that a country with a large Muslim population, which not too long ago had a Muslim president, is now going after this vulnerable group,” Turkel said. “India is a large democracy.”
On Thursday, Singh attended Vaisakhi celebrations in the Greater Toronto Area. Vaisakhi marks the founding of the community of baptized Sikhs, known as Khalsa Panth, by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699.
During Vaisakhi, Sikhs around the world engage in the tradition of “sewa” or selfless community service and take part in colourful parades, reflecting on the importance of upholding justice and promoting equality.
– Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press