PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday issued the following statement to mark Bandi Chhor Divas:
“Today, we join Sikh communities in Canada and around the world to celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas.
“On this day, Sikhs recall the story of Guru Hargobind Sahib and his release from prison. According to Sikh history, the Guru had refused to be released unless 52 innocent kings were also freed. Like the Guru who believed that the freedom and rights of others were more important than his own, Bandi Chhor Divas reminds us of the importance of respect, freedom, and inclusion.
“Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas with great joy. Families and friends would normally gather to pray, exchange sweets, and light up their homes and Gurdwaras. As we continue to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebrations will look different, but they continue to remind us that it is possible to find positivity during the most difficult of times.
“This celebration is also an opportunity to recognize the contributions that Canadians of the Sikh faith make every day – especially during this pandemic – to build a Canada that is fairer, safer, and more inclusive for everyone.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I wish a happy Bandi Chhor Divas to all those celebrating.”