Toronto, Mar 26 (IANS): Though Khalistanis constitute a small fraction of the Sikh diaspora in Canada, they wield huge clout in most federal and provincial political parties -- the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party.
Their deep influence on the Canadian political set-up allows them to indulge in radical activism.
Through their influence, pro-Khalistan leaders have managed to place their supporters, sons, daughters and relatives in these parties and get them elected as MPs and MLAs and even appointed as cabinet ministers.
Because of their political clout, the Khalistanis have also managed to get their sympathizers placed in various Canadian government agencies and services.
"The modus operandi of the Khalistanis is simple: control gurdwaras. They have managed to capture major gurdwaras in Ontario and British Columbia provinces where most of the Sikhs in Canada live," says a Sikh realtor of Brampton, requesting anonymity.
All the political clout that the Khalistanis enjoy flows from their control of the gurdwaras because these religious places are the biggest gathering centres of the Sikh community, he says.
"The control of gurdwaras gives a huge clout to Khalistanis. All sorts of politicians run to them for votes and donations."
Adds veteran Punjabi journalist Balraj Deol, "Politicians want votes and donations. And Khalistanis deliver them votes and notes in abundance. That's how the Khalistanis have formed a deep nexus with politicians and mayors in Canada."
This nexus has allowed the Khalistanis to exploit the Canadian political system to further their agenda, he says.
"Khalistanis have managed to get their sons and daughters placed in important positions in all political parties, get them elected as MPs and get ministerial berths. The fathers of two cabinet ministers have been known to be pro-Khalistan. The father of a Brampton-area MP was also a sympathizer of radicals," says a Brampton-based mortgage broker who wanted to be identified only by his surname Gill.
He says the lure of votes and notes (donations) has made politicians ignore the agenda of the radicals. "Politicians pander to Khalistanis because Sikhs are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the Toronto and Vancouver areas. Politicians need their votes. Through their control of gurdwaras, Khalistani radicals deliver them the votes. They volunteer in large numbers for all political parties."
With major gurdwaras in the Toronto and Vancouver areas perpetually under their control and many Indo-Canadian MPs getting elected with their support, Khalistanis in Canada will continue with their anti-India activities in the foreseeable future.