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Canada minister on ‘rescue Afghan Sikhs first’ row: ‘Because of my turban’ – Times of India

WorldCanada minister on 'rescue Afghan Sikhs first' row: 'Because of my turban' - Times of India



Canada minister Harjit Sajjan has found himself in a soup amid reports claiming that during the fall of Kabul in 2021, he, then in the capacity of the defence minister, “ordered” the Canadian Armed Forces to rescue Afghan Sikhs first. The minister, now in charge of emergency preparedness, said he did not order it but relayed the information to the forces provided to him by a Canadian-Sikh NGO that was encouraging the Canadian government to rescue Afghan Sikhs.”I relayed whatever information the NGO provided about the location and status of these Sikhs to the chain of command for it to use as it saw fit, in line with its operational plan on the ground in Afghanistan,” Harjit Sajjan clarified amid a major row over allegations of prioritizing Sikhs.
“I relayed whatever information that the NGO provided about the location and status of these Sikhs to the chain of command for it to use as it saw fit, in line with its operational plan on the ground in Afghanistan,” Sajjan said.
The protocol was to first evacuate Canadian and Afghan Military interpreters but the government had to respond to requests coming from several quarters including the Afghan women’s soccer team and the Sikh communities. All requests were taken very seriously, the minister said.
Canada’s Globe and Mail reported, citing sources, that Afghan Sikhs were not considered an operation priority as they had no link to Canada but Sajjan’s intervention impacted the rescue operation.
Some of the military sources felt the minister was out of line in pressing Canadian special forces to rescue the Afghan Sikhs as the operation involved intense planning.
‘Utter bulls***’
The minister said the allegations were utter BS as all efforts were done to get as many people out as possible. Sajjan said he is facing scrutiny only because he’s a Sikh. “If I wasn’t wearing a turban,” he said he would not have got these questions. World Sikh Organization also rejected the allegations and said they are unfounded, influenced by bias against his Sikh identity. “Allegations that Minister Harjit Sajjan acted inappropriately are unfounded and appear to be influenced by bias against his Sikh identity,” the group said in a media statement.





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