India-Canada row: Risks of dissent
Political activists in foreign lands often make for heat, not light
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The Big Story:
The continuing international row over Canada’s accusation that Indian government agents were behind the murder of an Indian-Canadian in British Columbia this summer.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a vocal advocate for Khalistan, a separate homeland for the Sikh religious minority that makes up roughly 2% of India’s population and the same in Canada. India had declared him a terrorist, while in Canada, his activism was seen as protected speech.
- This is the first time that India is accused of a political assassination on the soil of a Western country. It denies it.
- Political dissidents in foreign lands are a familiar story as is the reality that their presence and politics often causes tensions between home country and host country.
- India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly accused Canada of not doing enough to quell Sikh protests and “anti-India” activities within its borders.
- China has long resented India’s hospitality to Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
- In the 1990s, French intelligence services contemptuously dubbed the British capital ‘Londonistan’. It was a reference to UK-based Middle Eastern and North African dissidents campaigning against the governments of Egypt, Yemen and Algeria, among others.
- Some 80 years ago, the former Soviet Union had Russian Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky assassinated in Mexico because of his opposition to Stalin.
This Week, Those Books:
- A novel that covers Trotsky’s exile in Mexico and Communist witch-hunts in 1950s America.
- The autobiography of Tibet’s most famous refugee.
- A chronicle of the peripatetic existence endured by Reza Shah, who was forced to abdicate the Iranian throne.
Originally published at https://thisweekthosebooks.substack.com.