Report on India’s Disinformation Campaign Against Canada’s Sikhs Released by WSO

OTTAWA, CANADA – The World Sikh Organization of Canada has released a report shedding light on Indian disinformation campaigns targeting Sikhs in Canada. The report entitled “Exposed: India’s Disinformation Campaign Against Canada’s Sikhs” looks at the history of Indian interference and disinformation in Canada, including after the recent resignation of MP Navdeep Bains from his role as Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Last week when MP Ramesh Sangha was expelled from the Liberal caucus for making “baseless and dangerous” accusations against a number of his colleagues, Mark Holland, chief government whip, said “we will not tolerate conspiracy theories, or danger and unfounded rhetoric about Parliamentarians or other Canadians”.

Many in the Canadian media reacted with confusion over these comments and the apparent lack of clarity as to what had caused Sangha’s expulsion. Canadian Sikhs however recognized this as the latest chapter in a lengthy chronicle of India’s interference in Canada. Sangha’s expulsion was the result of his echoing baseless accusations of extremism that originated in India and which had repeatedly been pushed by the Indian media about Canadian Sikh politicians.

“Disinformation campaign targeting Sikhs and other minority groups are linked to the Sangh Parivar, a group that seeks to achieve a Hindu India. Strategically, the Sangh Parivar’s political arm, the BJP is in a position to leverage the state machinery to fulfill that vision, including control over the media.” – WSO Report

The WSO report looks at the history of Indian disinformation campaigns targeting Sikhs in Canada and examines their roots, techniques and motivation. The report exposes how in recent years Indian misinformation attacks have become more coordinated and aim to influence Canadian politicians, media and society. The goal of these efforts has been to malign and marginalize Canadian Sikhs, including elected officials, with allegations of extremism and to have the community regarded with suspicion and distrust. Recent examples of this include during the 2018 Trudeau trip to India as well as in the Indian media coverage related to Navdeep Bains’ resignation.

WSO President Tejinder Singh said today, “The report “Exposed: India’s Disinformation Campaign Against Canada’s Sikhs ” exposes Indian interference and disinformation campaigns targeting Sikhs in Canada. In the aftermath of the farmer protests in India, we are seeing escalated attempts by actors in India to push disinformation, particularly about Sikhs here in Canada. The report reveals that a standard methodology has developed to push false narratives with respect to Sikhs in Canada. There is also evidence to now suggest that India’s intelligence agencies are active in Canada and actively target Canadian politicians and media.

It is our hope that this report will shed light on what is happening and that Canadians- whether government, intelligence agencies, media or average citizens, will be vigilant with respect to being fed fake news and disinformation by Indian actors about the Sikh community in Canada.”

The full report can be read and downloaded here.