"Harjit Singh Sajjan, being a Sikh, has done commendable services to the community in Canada and he deserved to be honoured as per the SGPC tradition", said SGPC chief.
The Punjab Congress on Monday castigated elements standing up in support of Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, saying there were enough documentary and circumstantial evidence on record to prove the Indo-Canadian's Khalistani sympathies.
In his native Punjab, Sajjan is expected to visit the Golden Temple and meet with representatives of civil society organisations.
"It is important and in the interest of the good and friendly relationship between India and Canada that Sajjan clarifies his stand on this sensitive issue", state Congress leaders and MLAs said in a statement. Sajjan is slated to meet defence minister Arun Jaitley and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi as well as visit Amritsar, Chandigarh and Mumbai. AAP vice-president Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said, "By terming Sajjan and other Canadian Cabinet ministers as "Khalistanis", the Chief Minister has embarrassed Punjabi NRIs who have made a place for themselves in other countries with their hard work and honesty". The Khalistan movement was a Sikh nationalist movement active in 1970s through to 1990s that sought to create a Sikh homeland, Khalistan, in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.
In Punjab, opposition leaders from the Aam Admi Party and Akali Dal criticised the Chief Minister for the comments. The Indian government refuses to recognize the anti-Sikh riots as genocide and estimates that 2,800 people died in the riots. Sajjan will be in New Delhi later this month.
Settling personal scores with Canada?
India and Canada will explore ways to deepen bilateral defence and security cooperation during Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjans seven- day visit here, beginning today.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, last April Canadian authorities denied a visa to Amarinder Singh, who was planning to visit Canada for meetings with influential Punjabi-Canadians in the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections.
"There is no question of insulting a Punjabi or a Sikh in stating a fact about political leanings and inclinations of a particular leader just because he happens to be a Punjabi or a Sikh", they said and strongly supported Amarinder's stand in refusing to meet Sajjan.