India has raised concerns over a bill in Canada’s Parliament to ban the sale and display of hateful symbols, including the swastika for its association with Nazism.
A private members bill, tabled by National Democratic Party MP Peter Julian last week, which has the support of party leader Jagmeet Singh, has infuriated Indo-Canadians over “demonization” of a sacred symbol of the community.
The bill seeks to “prevent the display or sale of symbols or emblems such as the Nazi swastika and the Ku Klux Klan’s insignia, flags such as the standards of Germany between the years 1933 to 1945 and those of the Confederate States of America between the years 1861 to 1865 and uniforms, including the German and Confederate States of America military dress of those periods, as well as the hoods and robes of the Ku Klux Klan”.
The Bill was tabled after such symbols were seen at the first weekend of the truckers protest against cross-border vaccine mandates, during which protesters laid siege to the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
“Swastikas and confederate flags have no place in Canada. We have a responsibility to make our communities safe for everyone. It is time to ban hate symbols in Canada,” Mr Singh said earlier this month, promoting a petition in this regard.
India’s Consul General Apoorva Srivastava said India has “formally flagged this issue to Government of Canada and shared with them the petitions received from Canadian groups in this regard”. He was responding to Toronto-based rights advocate Ragini Sharma, according to whom, those who revere the swastika — Hindus, Buddhists and Jains — found “deeply hurtful” the remarks by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alluding to “the inherent violence of the swastika”.
Canadian MP Chandra Arya, from Trudeau’s Liberal Party, is likely to raise the matter in the House of Commons. His office said that he was “very concerned on the plans to ban the Hindu sacred symbol, Swastika. He is taking the lead to stop this from happening”.