TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Canada India Foundation (CIF), today, expressed
its abhorrence with regards to the demeaning and intimidating behaviour of
protestors who appeared at the Indian Republic Day celebration held at Pearson
Convention Centre, in Brampton, Ontario, on Sunday, February 1, 2009.
As Indo-Canadians from around the Greater Toronto Area gathered to
celebrate India's 60th Republic Day, a group of protesters actively
intimidated Canadians, many of whom were from the Indo-Canadian community, as
they attempted to enter the venue. The protesters, who shouted profanities at
women and children attending the celebration, purported to champion minority
rights in India by desecrating the Indian flag in the driveway to the venue.
Personal accounts of attendees included feelings of intimidation, threats to
personal security and an affront to Canadian values. "While we respect the
right to free speech, we also understand that this right carries with it a
responsibility to respect the rights of others - in this case, our right to
assemble for a peaceful and lawful purpose. Sadly, the protesters denied us
that right today." commented Ramesh Chotai, Co-Chair of the CIF, who attended
"We are mystified as to why a group purporting to uphold minority rights
in another country would resort to these measures, these very "un-Canadian",
if not unlawful, measures here in Canada, observed Ajit Someshwar, Convener of
the CIF. Their acts completely crush any morsel of credibility the protesters
might have aspired to have for their cause. Moreover, India, a young but
robust democracy, is a natural ally for Canada - in both political and
economical terms, and it has served as a haven to Christians, Jews and Muslims
and indeed a home to every one of the world's religions throughout the ages.
We are very proud that Canada is building bridges to this country, stated
Manoj Pundit, Spokesperson.
We could hardly believe that this episode was taking place here in
Canada, right in the presence of numerous dignitaries. What is most confusing
is the inaction of the Peel Regional Police who were called in by event
organizers to address the situation, and their instructions to those in
attendance to refrain from attempting to remove the flag from the path of
incoming traffic. "There is confusion as to what was intended by the police in
this situation as the miscreants seem to have gotten away with their mischief
of disrupting a perfectly lawful event attended by approximately 2,000 people.
We aim to take this matter up with the Peel Regional Police immediately in a
constructive and consultative fashion in the hope that a more effective
response can be garnered for these types of incidents in the future", stated
For further information:
For further information: Manoj Pundit, Spokesperson, Canada India
Foundation, Ph. (416) 816-0841