MEMBERS of Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) say they walked out in protest from a Malayali Samajam event in Delta on Saturday, September 8 after its co-founder Gurpreet Singh was stopped from speaking allegedly at the behest of an Indian diplomat in Vancouver.
The IAPI delegates, including Singh, Parshotam Dosanjh, Navtej Johal, Rakesh Kumar and Amrit Diwana, had gone there to show solidarity with the people of Kerala where nearly 500 human lives were lost due to massive floods. In all, they had raised $,1,375 for flood relief in Kerala and went to the event to present the money collected from members and supporters of the group to the organizers.
According to the IAPI, Singh was trying to convey that they were there to show solidarity with the people of Kerala that is being meted out step-motherly treatment by the right-wing government in Delhi. It was when he pointed out that the idea of India is under threat from the Hindutva forces that an Indian Consul reportedly interrupted and threatened to leave if Singh wasn’t stopped.
The organizers then cut Singh off, following which the IAPI members decided to walk out. However, on way out of the venue, they handed over the envelope containing their donation to the organizers.
IAPI said it condemns the action of the Indian diplomat and called it an attack on free expression.
IAPI that stands for a liberal and secular India was formed in response to growing attacks on religious minorities in the country. It had recently passed a resolution to condemn those unfairly linking the tragedy in Kerala with beef eating and campaign seeking right of the women to enter Sabarimala temple, a Hindu pilgrimage centre.