Gurpreet Singh: Former Indian Consul General Ashok Das given a warm sendoff by moderates

The outgoing Consul General of India in Vancouver, Ashok Das has been honoured by moderate Sikhs and pro-India groups in a series of events held in Greater Vancouver.

Das, who is the new Indian Ambassador to Iceland, was credited for taking a tough position against local separatist forces who wanted new state carved out of Punjab.

Widely known for his no-nonsense approach, Das gained much prominence within the Indo-Canadian community over the past three-and-a-half years for tightening the visa policy for Sikh separatists and ultra-leftists during his tenure in Canada. He left for Iceland on May 23.

At a function held on May 18 in Surrey, the Hindu Sikh Forum of North America and the India Canada Association jointly organized a farewell dinner for Das where speakers appreciated his hawkish stand against "antinational forces".

The president of the Vedic Hindu Temple in Surrey, Purshottam Goel, who is also associated with the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), commended Das for "blacklisting those from visiting India who actually work against the national interest of India".

Likewise, the former president of the Surrey Sikh Temple, Balwant Singh Gill, offered appreciation to Das for "discouraging the extremists from visiting India". Gill is an outspoken critic of Sikh fundamentalism.

A prominent moderate Sikh scholar, Gurnam Singh Sanghera, also spoke on the occasion. He insisted that Das is a staunch supporter of united India and that’s why he and others at the event were proud of what he did.

Vinay Sharma, leader of the Hindu Sikh Forum, acknowledged that Das became infamous with the anti-national elements for his tough position against them. "They must be happy with his departure,'' he said.

Das however, emphasized that he was only doing his job and meeting his professional obligation.

On May 20, Das was separately honoured by another pro-India group, the Indo Canadian Workers’ Association, for his "bold stand against subversive elements on Canadian soil'".

During a separate event organized by Team Ravidasi—a group of Dalit activists who support the cause of those considered "untouchables" in India—to honour Das in Vancouver, the ICWA leader, Kulwant Dhesi, said that he respects the diplomat because he never compromised with sectarian forces. Team Ravidasi leader, Jai Birdi, said he agreed.

Gurpreet Singh is Georgia Straight contributor, and the host of a program on Radio India. He's working on a book tentatively titled Canada's 9/11: Lessons from the Air India Bombings.

Comments (10) Add New Comment
Rod Lennox
Gurpreet, as someone with some knowledge of India, I'm pretty sure the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is not 'moderate'. In fact, they've been accused of terrorism and leading the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. By any definition they are extremists.

I have to ask once again, how do you define 'moderate'? Even in the Sikh community, you are a recognized "moderate" and work for the "moderate" Radio India, but the owner of Radio India is accused of shooting a rival in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Temple. By any definition, that's not moderate.

Similarly, you mentioned the Indo Canadian Workers Association. From a simple Google search I see that you've spoken at their events as well. But they're an avowedly Community-Marxist group. In Canada, Marxists aren't generally considered mainstream or "moderate".

As a premise, let's figure out how you're defining the term "moderate".
Rating: +3
Hi Rod,

When he says moderate, I think he is referring to people who don't believe in blowing up planes with innocent passengers.

Hope this clears it up for you.

Rating: +1
Rod Lennox
I should hope so! But just so I'm clear on that 'Nuts', does that Gurpreet's definition of moderate is everyone who thinks it's a bad idea to blow up planes? Casting the net a bit wide I'd say.

When a conception of "moderate" includes a guy that shoots people in temple parking lots, a Communist-Marxist organization and a right-wing Hindu extremist group, it makes me wonder.
Rating: +3
Bikramjit Singh
Trying to keep an artificial multi-ethnic country containing many nations together makes strange bedfellows. Fascists and Communists along with free living alcoholics! In Gurpreet's skewed world view an extreme right wing Hindu organisation akin to the Nazi party become 'moderates' because they support keeping India united. Their long term aim of which they make no attempt to hide is the annexation of former Hindu areas such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh into a Mahan Bharat. Even so Gurpreet still considers them to be 'moderates' The Indo-Canadian workers association is a extreme marxist group. Everywhere their ideology has been discredited and thrown into the dustbin of history but amongst the Sikhs we still have these dinosaurs attempting to take over our religious institutions.

On a side note our ambassador friend can't have done a very good job if he is being sent to Iceland! Maybe he's being punished for not being able to subvert the Gurdwaras and place India's 'yes men' into positions of power there.
Rating: +2
Rod...The violence purpatrated by the Radio India host was wrong, but do some research on the victim his friends and his well as the fools that caused previous violence at the Surrey SikhTemple...hardly glowing examples of anything Sikhism represents. In fact, every last one of them should be banished from the faith and have to remove their turbans, as they are the reason Sikhism is the least respected religion in Canada.
Rating: -5
Listen dude...this guy gets a kick out of winding up sikhs..and the funny thing is they fall for it all the time. You guys are too predictable!
Rating: -3
Mr Das done a great job for keeping terrorist out of India.Canadian people should be worried about these terrorist on their land.One day these terrorist will demand seperate nation on Canadian land also.Beware Canadians.Do not let happen in Canada.
Rating: 0
the truth
It is no hidden fact that gurpreet has a one sided agenda that he attempts to guise in the name of journalist. Funny how you never seem him at the operation bluestar remembrance, 1984 Delhi genocide massacre remembrances, however he is front and center at events where somehow he can advocate his left leaning, pro India, so called Sikh moderate supporting agenda. Ask him and he puts on his journalism hat and says he must remain neutral...take a look at the hypocracy of the two bit radio India station and you will notice their continuous hidden agenda...there was a time when the owner was anti-India, probably Sikh, anti moderate and all of a sudden the owner and his cronies are seen at functions that are provided India, anti Sikh, probably communist, probably so called moderates and the talks.
Rating: +7
Ms. Kaur
Gurnam Singh Sanghera, what kind of scholar is he? Does he have a doctorate degree of any sort? I don't think so. I have heard a lot of people say he is a communist. I wonder if Gurpreet is also a communist for he is always speaking positively of people thought to be or known to be communists, ones who trash Sikhism too.
Rating: +5
ridicule you
Lol paid news hacks of a corrupt government that kills and tortures its own people and unleashes murderous gangs on religious and ethnic minorities to garner votes. Sure needs a warm send off from the ones whose bread you butter so that they carry on your false propaganda lol
Rating: +6
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