World Sikh Organization raises objections about CBC reporter Terry Milewski

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The World Sikh Organization has written a "letter of concern" to CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe about its senior Ottawa correspondent, Terry Milewski.

Last month, the WSO objected to Milewski allegedly claiming that Sikhs held a rally on Parliament Hill for a "suicide bomber".

"WSO has been very clear that there is no evidence of extremism in the Canadian Sikh community," the organization stated on its website. "Those who claim otherwise have yet to offer any proof."

A former Duncan electrician, Inderjit Singh Reyat, has been convicted for his role in bombs being placed on two Air India planes in 1985, resulting in the deaths of 331 people.

Reyat was later convicted of committing perjury during the trials of Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik, who were acquitted on charges stemming from the world's worst case of aviation terrorism before 9/11.

Milewski covered the Air India bombing trial for CBC TV and broadcast numerous stories about Bagri and Malik, as well as about the victims of the attack.

"Mr. Milewski cannot prove there are Sikhs advocating for violence in Canada, because there are none," the WSO declared in its letter to LaPointe. "So instead, he writes rhetoric: 'And if there were any doubt that Canada remains a stronghold of Sikh separatism, Wednesday’s demonstration should settle it.' Claiming a rally against capital punishment is a marshalling of terrorist forces is akin to arguing that every gathering of Irish Catholics is just a front for terrorists and gun runners because the IRA was active in Ireland 30 years ago. Or that the Quebecois in a crowd may be plotting to kidnap and murder politicians because the FLQ was active there 40 years ago."

In 2010, Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh—himself a Sikh—claimed that there are some elements in Canada that are wedded to terrorism.

The WSO, on the other hand, completely rejects this assertion.

"They were rallying to oppose Balwant Singh Rajoana’s death sentence—a far different activity," the WSO stated. "The Sikh faith specifically opposes capital punishment and Sikhs have been protesting around the world. There is a feeling that the cycle of violence which has already claimed too many lives in India must end and that includes state-sanctioned killings."

The WSO also criticized Milewski's alleged "contempt for the idea that Sikhs would defend human rights—to his way of thinking the only possible reason for such an outpouring of support is for terrorism".

"He ignores the fact that both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also spoken against Rajoana’s execution," the WSO added. "Even the daughters and grandchildren of the man he conspired to assassinate have asked for his execution to be halted."

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

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Ron S.

Apr 16, 2012 at 3:35pm

"Mr. Milewski cannot prove there are Sikhs advocating for violence in Canada, because there are none," Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor from laughing at that one. Oh and by the way "Pigs can fly."

7 9 Rating: -2

Raskolnikov

Apr 16, 2012 at 3:39pm

"WSO has been very clear that there is no evidence of extremism in the Canadian Sikh community,"

The Air India bombing was what type of event please?

6 8 Rating: -2

Mark Fornataro

Apr 16, 2012 at 4:10pm

Sophistry by the WSO will not dissuade any thinking person who has followed Mr Milewski's career from acknowledging that he is a gutsy,very smart reporter who sticks to the facts.

6 9 Rating: -3

Jakub Marks

Apr 16, 2012 at 4:44pm

The Air India bombing took place 27 years ago. Let's keep that in context. Has there been any terrorism or extremism in the Canadian Sikh community since that time? Can't seem to find it.

7 6 Rating: +1

Jakub Marks

Apr 16, 2012 at 5:15pm

Hmm...Mr. Hayer was killed in 1998, 14 years ago. Seems his killers haven't been found or convicted.

8 6 Rating: +2

BvB

Apr 16, 2012 at 6:18pm

labelling a whole community of millions as terrorists because of the actions of 4-5 people is completely wrong.

6 6 Rating: 0

Ron S.

Apr 16, 2012 at 7:38pm

So Jakub, it seems you agree there is Sikh Terrorists in BC. Thanks for the clarification. Oh by the way, who do they celebrate with pictures in their parades....... Oh those are heros. I see....????

6 6 Rating: 0

Jay1

Apr 16, 2012 at 8:06pm

What about Sikhs killed in India 1984. It was a tragic period and there was no justice. Any violence is bad; including state sponsored, but Terry will write only one sided story.

8 4 Rating: +4

Truth Hurts

Apr 16, 2012 at 8:33pm

bottom line is ... yes Rajoana was a suicide bomber. But he was going to kill someone who had killed innocent sikhs. The chief minister Beant Singh was a ruthless killer, he did despicable things. The fact that Balwant Singh Rajoana offered his own life to rid the world of this tryant makes him a great hero in the eyes of every sikh, eventhough the indian government views him as a terrorist. I say he is a great man, we need more selfless people like him the world would be a better place.

6 8 Rating: -2
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