March 19th 23 – (VOICE) Diaspora in Canada is worried about the ongoing suspension of SMS and mobile internet services in Punjab, India, except for voice calls, which was implemented in the interest of public safety.
The police launched a crackdown against Amritpal Singh, the leader of ‘Waris Punjab De’ and a Khalistan ideologue, and his associates, which led to the mass suspension of internet services and the prevention of gatherings of more than four people. The suspension of civil liberties and human rights violations have raised concerns among Canadian politicians, including Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, who called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government to contact their Indian counterparts regarding the safety of Canadians abroad.
Sonia Sidhu, a Member of Parliament for Brampton South, expressed her concern about the situation, stating that she had received calls from her constituents regarding the internet blackout in Punjab. Similarly, Iqwinder S. Gaheer, MP for Mississauga-Malton, tweeted that he was troubled by the reports coming out of Punjab and that civil rights and liberties should be maintained in a democracy. However, some Twitter users criticized Jagmeet Singh for being a hypocrite and not speaking out against civil liberties violations in Canada.
The charity organization United Sikhs expressed concern about the human rights violations against Sikhs in India, and questioned the grounds for Amritpal Singh’s arrest. Meanwhile, the police launched a massive search operation to arrest Amritpal Singh, who was declared a fugitive. The search operation was focused mainly on Jalandhar district, where he managed to evade the police. Amritpal Singh’s father criticized the police action and stated that his son was helping youth to stay away from drugs.
The police commissioner confirmed that six of Amritpal Singh’s gunmen were arrested and that they were hopeful that he would be arrested soon. The police also reported that during the state-wide operation, they recovered nine weapons and 373 live cartridges of different calibers. The police stated that ‘Waris Punjab De’ elements were involved in four criminal cases, including spreading disharmony among classes, attempting to murder, attacking police officers, and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duties of public servants. FIR stands registered for the attack on Ajnala Police Station.
In summary, the suspension of SMS and mobile internet services in Punjab has raised concerns among the Canadian diaspora about civil liberties and human rights violations. The ongoing police operations against Amritpal Singh and his associates have led to the mass suspension of internet services and the prevention of gatherings of more than four people. Canadian politicians and Twitter users have expressed their concerns and called on the Canadian government to contact their Indian counterparts to ensure the safety of Canadians abroad. Meanwhile, the police launched a massive search operation to arrest Amritpal Singh, and recovered several weapons and cartridges during the state-wide operation.