The outrage over a Canadian official’s presence at a recent event held at the Russian embassy was missing when our prime minister recently received a Kashmiri carpet from his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the G7 in Germany.
Justin Trudeau was among those who accepted gifts from Narendra Modi, who brought different specialities from various parts of his country for world leaders on the occasion.
Modi, the right-wing leader of India, has belonged to the Hindu supremacist organization Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. The organization aspires to turn the world’s so-called largest democracy into a Hindu theocracy.
Attacks on religious minorities, especially Muslims and political dissidents, have grown in India ever since Modi became prime minister in 2014.
And yet, Trudeau accepted a Kashmiri carpet from him in Germany with no backlash similar to what the Canadian government received for the presence of one of its officials at an event hosted by Russia in Ottawa.
While the anger was understandable, considering Russia’s assault on Ukraine, the silence over Trudeau’s cordial meeting with Modi only suggests selectivity on the part of Canadian commentators and observers and reflects poorly on their approach toward human rights.
How come our prime minister can accept a present from one tyrant without being questioned, while a junior official’s presence in a Russian setting can create a storm in political circles?
Notably, Jammu and Kashmir has been the only Muslim-majority state in India. In 2019, the Modi government arbitrarily stripped Kashmir of its special status and brought it under the direct rule of New Delhi.
The heavy military deployment in that region in the name of a war on terror to suppress an ongoing struggle for the right to self-determination has resulted in gross abuses of civil rights and freedom. There have been angry protests against this controversial move across Canada.
Despite that, Trudeau received a silk carpet from a place that continues to be under military occupation. This only shows how little Trudeau really cares for minority rights when it comes to India. Like it or not, Trudeau has become a complicit in crimes of Modi's government.