Peel police stung by flap over controversial flag

The Peel Regional Police service is now trying to distance itself from the Khalistan movement.

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

The Peel Regional Police service is distancing itself from the actions of an officer who was caught in a photograph flying the flag of an Indian separatist movement that has been linked to extremism and terrorism.

An image has been circulating on social media of a Peel Regional Police officer standing in front of a patrol car that is flying a yellow Khalistan independence flag. The unnamed officer appears to be outside of a Sikh Gurdwara in Peel Region and is seen smiling and posing for the photo.

The photo made the news in India but was mostly ignored by mainstream media in Canada.

“Canadian cop poses with Khalistani flag on official vehicle, Twitter takes him on,” read a headline of the New Delhi-based online news source The Print.

The Khalistani flag represents a radical and often violent movement that advocates for a Sikh ethno-state to be carved out of India. Khalistani activists have called for violence and the use of force – even terrorism – to promote and advance their narrow goals.

The worst terrorist attack in Canadian history was carried out by Khalistani terrorists. In 1985, terrorists blew up a Toronto-based Air India flight and gruesomely murdered 329 innocent men, women and children.

Despite his heinous crime, the terrorist mastermind of that bombing Talwinder Singh Parmar is glorified and considered a “martyr” by some radicals in Canada. Posters of Parmar allegedly hang in some Canadian Sikh Gurdwaras.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stepped into the centre of a controversy when he initially failed to condemn Parmar and suggested he didn’t know who was responsible for the Air India bombing.

A comprehensive inquiry by Canadian and international authorities determined Parmar was responsible, and Singh subsequently said he accepts the inquiry’s conclusion that Parmar was behind the attack.

It was later revealed that Singh spoke at a Khalistani separatist rally in San Francisco, and shared the stage with people calling for violence and war.

As reported exclusively in the Sun, Singh is also friends with radical Khalistani rapper Chani Natt. Natt’s music videos glorify Khalistani terrorism and violence.

Many Canadians first learned about the Khalistani movement when a former terrorist was invited to an official event with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in India. Convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal appeared at official events alongside top Liberals, including Trudeau’s wife Sophie.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau at a function in India with Jaspal Atwal, a Surrey businessman, who is a one-time member of the now-banned International Sikh Youth Federation. (Handout Photo)

Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate a visiting Indian politician in 1986, and his invitation to official Government of Canada events helped to derail Trudeau’s disastrous trip to India.

Atwal insisted he is now a reformed man, but in April 2018 he was arrested and charged with one count of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm in Surrey, British Columbia.

The Peel Regional Police service is now trying to distance itself from this radical and divisive movement.

“The officer was unaware of the political implications associated with the flag and regrets the reaction the picture caused,” a police spokesman said. “The flag was removed.”

It is unclear where the flag came from, and why the officer decided to fly it from his car window.

The spokesman continued, “Our Service remains neutral and does not take sides in these matters.”