While it is encouraging to see our MPs coming together to denounce the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims in China, their deafening silence about state-sponsored crimes against humanity in the country next door is highly problematic and speaks of hypocrisy.
First of all, a big applause to all those 266 MPs who voted for a motion in the House of Commons cutting across party lines to recognize the mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims in China as genocide in the absence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet members. This was necessary to send a message to China that the way it's treating minorities and political dissidents is not acceptable.
But let’s be very careful before jumping to the conclusion that Canada has proven itself as human rights leader in the world as a lot more needs to be accomplished.
One thing has been clearly established that Canadian establishment has its eyes on that region. So the question is why it cannot see what has been going on in India, the country that shares a border with China?
Whereas China isn’t a democracy, some forms of genocide against religious minorities have repeatedly taken place in the world’s so-called largest democracy.
The one that is widely known and commemorated across Canada is the Sikh Genocide in which thousands of Sikhs were slaughtered all over India in the first week of November 1984 following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
Despite many petitions and statements coming from individual Sikh and non-Sikh MPs asking for the recognition of the events of 1984 as a Sikh Genocide, Canada has remained indifferent.
This has occurred even as those spearheading the campaign were denied visas by the offended Indian government. But that’s not the end of the story.
This weekend marks the 19th anniversary of the Muslim Genocide of Gujarat. Thousands of Muslims were massacred in this western Indian state that was led by the current Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, back in 2002.
The massacre of Muslims occurred after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, leaving more than 50 people dead. Modi instantly blamed the incident on Muslims, which incited violence.
Ever since he became the prime minister in 2014, violence against minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, has grown. His government has abrogated special rights given to the people of Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state in India, and brought forward a controversial Citizenship Amendment Act that discriminates against Muslim refugees coming from the neighbouring countries.
For the record, Modi is wedded to right-wing Hindu nationalist ideology. The Hindu supremacist group he belongs to idolized Hitler in the 1940s and justified the Jewish Holocaust.
In addition, the Indian state that is deeply entrenched in Hindu majoritarian bias has been responsible for the genocide of Dalits (so-called untouchables) and Adivasis (Indigenous peoples of India) for years.
Thus, what happened in 1984 and 2002 were only the symptoms of the disease—a genocidal mindset that is behind the philosophy of using structural violence to suppress others.
It is a matter of shame for Canada that it has chosen to look away when it comes to the bloodshed inflictedon minorities in India. Nobody can or should deny the crimes of China, but how can such selectivity be tolerated?
On that note, Prime Minister Trudeau has let us down twice.
Earlier, he called Modi to beg for COVID-19 vaccines, fully knowing how Modi's government is dealing with minorities and political dissidents.
Later, Trudeau abstained from voting on the motion on Uyghur Muslims. This only shows that Trudeau lacks courage to stand up against tyrants.