Amidst growing diplomatic tensions between India and Canada following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's accusations related to the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, rumors began circulating on social media regarding the replacement of Sikh security personnel at Rastrapathi Bhawan (the official residence of the President of India).
Speculations also arose suggesting that the Indian Army was denying leave requests to Sikh soldiers. However, the Indian Army swiftly moved to clarify that these reports were baseless and unsubstantiated. In a statement posted by the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of MoD (Army), it was emphasised that the claims were false. The statement read, "Fake messages are being spread on social media by inimical agents about soldiers of #IndianArmy, spreading rumors and hate-mongering. Safeguard yourselves against such fake news."
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) also conducted a fact-check, confirming that there had been no such decision regarding the replacement of Sikh security personnel. PIB emphasised that these baseless allegations were being shared with the intention of sowing discord and creating disharmony.
SGPC chief expresses concern
The situation has drawn the attention of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of Sikhs. SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami expressed concern that the matter would have repercussions for Sikhs worldwide.
Dhami urged the Indian government to address the issues faced by Sikhs in India and work towards a meaningful resolution by understanding the problems and sentiments of the Sikh community abroad. He commented on the serious nature of the situation, particularly in light of Canada's expulsion of an Indian diplomatic officer following allegations related to Hardeep Singh Nijjar's murder case.
"In the murder case of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, the expulsion of an Indian diplomatic officer by the Canadian government after allegations were leveled against him raises many questions," Dhami stated. "As a reaction to this, even though India rejected the allegations and expelled a Canadian diplomatic officer, this matter is very serious and directly related to the Sikhs, which is going to affect the community members at the global level."
Dhami called upon the governments of both countries to prioritise a constructive dialogue rather than leveling accusations. He emphasised the importance of safeguarding the human rights and religious concerns of Sikhs around the world.