Canada Visit of Minister Implicated in 1984 Anti-Sikh Violence Unacceptable - WSO

Ottawa – March 12, 2010: The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is gravely concerned to learn that Mr. Kamal Nath, Indian Minister of Road Transport and Highways, who has been implicated in leading the November 1984 anti-Sikh violence in New Delhi, has been invited to speak by the Canada-India Business Council on March 23, 2010 in Toronto. Anti-Sikh violence across India in November 1984, took the lives of thousands of Sikhs. The perpetrators of the violence have not been prosecuted to this day.

Mr. Nath was identified by numerous witnesses, including Indian Express reporter Monish Sanjay Suri , as having controlled a mob of 4000 people who attacked Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, a prominent Sikh shrine in Delhi, on November 1, 1984. Several Sikhs were burnt alive by the mob. Mr. Nath has denied his involvement in the killings. However, according to Justice Nanavati, who chaired a commission to investigate the 1984 anti-Sikh violence and the role of government officials, Mr. Nath has failed to satisfactorily explain his role, the length of time he stayed and why he did not contact the police to help quell the violence.


WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “While WSO appreciates the importance of building economic ties, we cannot sacrifice the Canadian values of justice equality and human rights that we hold so dear. There are many survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh violence now living in Canada along with families of the victims. It is difficult for the Sikh community to accept that someone like Mr. Nath who has been implicated in orchestrating the violence will be allowed to freely travel to and speak in Canada.”


WSO senior policy advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “Sikhs have been struggling for justice for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre for the past 25 years. Mr. Nath’s visit is a slap in the face to the Sikh community for whom the issue of prosecuting the guilty is still very much a live issue.”


WSO calls upon the Canadian government to refuse Mr. Nath entry to Canada and requests that the organizers and supporters of the event reconsider their decision to invite Mr. Nath to speak.


The World Sikh Organization (WSO) is a non-profit international organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.
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