WSO TO BRING DISTRESSED AFGHAN SIKHS, HINDUS TO CANADA
World Sikhs Organisation, a progressive body of the Sikhs is behind the safe passage of Sikhs and Hindus who are stuck in terror torn Afghanistan. The March 25 killing of pilgrims inside a Kabul Gurdwara has led to the demand of bringing back the Sikhs to a safer place: Canada or India.
“We have started working at a fast pace in the direction to evacuate them,” Gian Singh Sandhu a former WSO President told Dissect it. Not, now, in the past also, we have helped 21 families of Afghan Sikhs to come to our country, said Sandhu who is based in Canada, adding that a large number of Sikh families well settled in the North American were have come forward for help.
However, the Afghan Sikhs are unable to take a decision for taking refuge in India or the North American country Canada. The Indian government is also pushing to bring these families of India.
Justin Trudeau’s government is positive towards the community and according to Sandhu bringing these families would not be a problem. “It’s a matter of time. Due to lockdown to save spread of COVID19, things have been halted” he said.
Sandhu said WSO has approached United Nations for giving refugee status to Afghan Sikhs, and on getting the status WSO would approach the Canadian government to bring them to Canada on political asylum. “The whole process takes more than one year,” said Sandhu.
In forty years from 1979 when Russian forces moved into Afghanistan, then a peaceful, fun-loving and business-oriented nation, the number of Sikhs and Hindus were 100,000 plus, the number now have shrunk to 700, in about 150 families. They are living in Kabul and other parts of the terror torn country.
Once strong business community, flush with money and resources Sikh community has been reduced to a countable and hapless who are dependent on the Gurdwaras for safety and security as the Afghanistan government has virtually given in to the pressure from terror groups.
In 1980s Sikhs were known to be astute businessmen dealing in foreign currency, construction, dry fruits, opium, textile and import-export. Most of the Kabuli-Sikhs, as they are commonly referred, have shifted base to India, Europe, England, US and Canada. Those who are left behind to fend for themselves are poor, doing odd jobs and run small businesses. They have abandoned their houses, properties, shops and businesses.
A large number of Sikhs who landed in India after the Russian occupation of 1979 have migrated to India, Canada and other European countries. “We are confused because lots of Sikhs in India’s Punjab are migrating to Canada. So why not if we should also try to be in Canada,” said a Sikh from Afghanistan sharing his viewpoint with dissectit. You too can share your views on dissect it.
KNOW MORE ABOUT WSO:
- Ottawa, Canada headquartered World Sikh Organisation (WSO) was formed in July 1984 post the Operation Bluestar in Darbar Sahib, Amritsar that led to colossal damage to the sanctum sanctorum of the highest spiritual seat of Sikhs.
- Currently led by Canada born Tejinder Singh Sidhu, the organisation is known for fighting the human rights of Sikhs as its major area of work and providing aid to Punjab. The organization’s aim is: “to provide an effective and credible voice to represent Sikh interests on the world stage”.
- Canada based Gian Singh Sandhu is a founding president of WSO, though not actively involved in day to day functioning now, but he’s still a key figure in WSO and is consulted on important matters.
- A huge congregation of Sikhs was organized in 1984 in Madison Square, New York, to form Sikh’s organization. US based millionaire farmer Didar Singh Bains was also actively involved in setting up of the organisation.
- WSO helped Justin Trudeau’s (now Canadian prime minister) Liberal Party campaign before the federal polls.
- It successfully fought cases of Sikhs for wearing articles of faith in government and public organisations in Canada. The cases contested in a Canadian court led permission for Sikhs to wearing the turban in the Royal Canadian Mounted police.
- The WSO has wings in different countries and in India, but the Canadian wing is most active. Most of the members in the WSO are second and third generation Sikhs.
- It is said that WSO initially stood for Khalistan a separate Sikh state, however later shifted focus towards building a strong Sikh intellect and diaspora, and groom young Sikhs to be at commanding positions in the World. Majority of Sikhs in Trudeau cabinet including defense minister Harjit Singh Sajjan owes allegiance to WSO.