World Sikh Organization raises objections about CBC reporter Terry Milewski
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."
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