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Movement out of India that ‘disseminates hate’ victimizes religious minority groups, report says



Canada shouldn’t allow a movement out of India that “disseminates hate” and victimizes religious minority groups to entrench itself in this country, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

The report, called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Network in Canada, documents the roots of the RSS movement in India and its extensive global reach, promoting far right views in various ways.

“It’s one of the most influential organizations in the world,” said Steven Zhou, a spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

The council and the World Sikh Organization of Canada are trying to draw attention to what academics, including some in Canada, say they have witnessed for years — an increasing influence and threat from a movement closely linked to the government in New Delhi that they say promotes discrimination against minority religious groups at home and abroad.


“[The RSS] poses a major challenge to Canadian commitments to human rights, to tolerance and multiculturalism,” said Zhou.

According to the report, the RSS is at the core of a network of groups “seeking to remake India into a country run by and for Hindus first at the expense of the country’s dizzying slew of minority groups.”

“It’s … vital to keep in mind that the ideal nationalism projected by the RSS network victimizes not just ethno-religious minorities like Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, but also members of India’s lower caste Hindus.”

Sanjay Ruparelia in a suit.
Sanjay Ruparelia, an associate professor of politics and Jarislowsky Democracy Chair at Toronto Metropolitan University, says the world needs to pay attention to India’s human rights record. (Submitted by Sanjay Ruparelia)

“It has domestic and international organs that seize political power, perpetuate its supremacist ideologies and actively participate in communal violence,” the report said.

CBC News reached out to RSS’s branch in Canada but did not receive a response.

On its website, the organization quotes its founder, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, saying it is “the duty of every Hindu to do his best to consolidate the Hindu society” and that its mission is to strive for “national reconstruction.”

On the Canadian website, it says it is a “voluntary, non-profit, social and cultural organization” and “aims to organize the Hindu community in order to preserve, practise and promote Hindu ideals and values.”

Researchers say the ideology espoused by RSS is commonly known as Hindutva.

The Indian state has not always supported the RSS and Hindutva, banning it three times since its inception in 1925 as a paramilitary volunteer organization.

In an interview with CBC News in April 2022, Franco-Indian journalist Ingrid Therwath said the RSS network was founded on the principles of Italian facism, is ideologically similar to Nazism and was exported abroad by some in the Indian diaspora, said Therwath, who has been researching Hindu extremism for more than 20 years.

Therwath, who has been researching Hindu extremism for more than 20 years, said the first Canadian branch of the RSS’s international organization was established in Toronto in the 1970s.

Zhou, a former researcher with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network who has chronicled far right movements within diaspora groups, told CBC in a previous interview Hindutva is a superficial politicization of Hinduism and has led to discrimination and sectarian violence against minority groups in India like Muslims and Christians.

Human Rights Watch has also attributed religious and ethnic violence to groups that espouse the Hindutva ideology.

In December 2021, in the northern Indian city of Haridwar, Hindu religious leaders openly called for a genocide against Muslims at an event organized by right-wing and Hindutva-following leaders.

Violence against other minority groups like Sikhs and Dalits has increased in India in recent years, say academics. Dalits are members of a caste who do not belong to the social order, according to the caste system.

“There’s been an increase in different kinds of hate crimes,” said Shivaji Mukherjee, an assistant professor specializing in South Asian political violence at the University of Toronto-Mississauga. He said those crimes are increasing at a time when the current government — with extensive links to the RSS —  is enjoying an overwhelming majority.

“Now that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come to power, it’s easier for these groups to increase violence, to fulfil their political and social agendas.”

‘This is not a fringe ideology’

While the RSS has existed for decades, Mukherjee said it has been emboldened to take violent action based on its ideology in recent years by the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP with a majority in 2014.

According to multiple media outlets, the RSS has an estimated membership of more than five million worldwide, including Modi and the majority of ministers in his government.

“This is not a fringe ideology. This is the state ideology, ” said Jaskaran Sandhu, a board member with the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

Academics have documented and noticed an increased attempt to challenge and silence criticism by supporters of the BJP and the RSS and Hindutva movement since the party came into power.

A person poses in a blue suit.
Jaskaran Sandhu, a board member with the World Sikh Organization, says the Canadian government is ‘valuing trade deals and strategic relationships … rather than actually upholding values that are important to Canadians.’ (Submitted by Jaskaran Sandhu)

In December 2021, Sanjay Ruparelia, an associate professor of politics and Jarislowsky Democracy Chair at Toronto Metropolitan University, organized a talk by prominent Indian politics researcher Christophe Jaffrelot hosted by the Toronto Public Library.

Ruparelia said he received hundreds of emails from individuals urging organizers to call it off and for the library to ban the event because it was “anti-Hindu.” Academics say this kind of action can be attributed to those who support the views of the RSS.

“It’s an attempt to silence them, to undermine their legitimacy,” Ruparelia said, pointing out anyone engaging in debate about the Indian government or its views is automatically labelled by these supporters as “anti-Hindu” or “Hinduphobic.”

Ruparelia said he knows of many academics who have been harassed and intimidated online by these people based on articles they’re writing and events they’re organizing.

“It’s trying to shut down debate. It’s trying to curtail freedom of expression.”

RSS operations in Canada

The report on RSS highlights how the movement is operating in Canada, including through political lobbying and through seemingly benign cultural organizations that have charitable status.

In India, the report says, the RSS operates an India-based NGO called Seva Bharati, which operates health-care units, disaster relief efforts and education in the country’s underserved areas.

Overseas, Sewa International provides these services and fundraises for these services around the world, according to the report.

It also says RSS operates overseas through an organization called Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) that perpetuates Hindutva ideologies in the Indian diaspora, including in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. The report says HSS has held events on Hinduism in some Ontario public schools.

Two men sit talking to one another.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, chats with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Through the report, the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the World Sikh Organization of Canada are urging the federal government to “carefully study and track the growth of a movement that disseminates hate here in Canada.”

The report also calls for action from the Canadian government.

“Canadian leaders cannot allow individuals and [organizations] that push a Hindutva vision of India — a supremacist vision that discriminates against minorities and has led to mass bloodshed — [to] entrench themselves in this country, perpetuate their supremacist ideologies and radicalize relations between large faith-based communities,” the report’s authors wrote.

However, critics say Ottawa has stayed largely silent and complacent as it attempts to foster an economic relationship with India as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy, launched in November 2022 to enhance trade and engagement in that region.

“They’re valuing trade deals and strategic relationships … rather than actually upholding values that are important to Canadians,” said Sandhu, with the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

Several academics use Nepean MP Chandra Arya raising what appears to be the RSS flag on Parliament Hill during Hindu Heritage Month last November as an example of why they’re concerned.

The event prompted professors from several Quebec universities to pen a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explaining why the flag was problematic. A separate letter was sent by community and cultural groups like Hindus for Human Rights and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

In an emailed statement to CBC News on Wednesday, Arya said the flag raised on Parliament Hill “represents the Hindu faith and does not represent, or indicate support for, any political organization or ideology.”

“This auspicious symbol belongs to all Hindus, and no country or organization or individual can claim ownership or exclusivity to it,” he said.

As India is projected by the United Nations to be the most populous country in the world this year, and the fastest growing economy in the next two decades, the world needs to pay attention to its human rights record, said Ruparelia.

“What happens in India has a great impact in the world,” he said. “[That’s why] the erosion of democracy that we’ve seen in India is deeply concerning.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told CBC News “promoting human rights has always been at the core of our foreign policy” especially as India is set to host the G20 in September.

“Canada will continue to engage with India on issues related to security, democracy, pluralism and human rights.”


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Canada: Fatal stabbing in Vancouver leaves city shaken – Hindustan Times



Mar 28, 2023 01:16 PM IST

An Indo-Canadian has been arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder. The victim has been identified by the Vancouver Police Department as 37-year-old Paul Stanley Schmidt

Toronto: The city of Vancouver in British Colombia was left shaken after a person at Starbucks cafe was fatally stabbed, with an Indo-Canadian arrested for that alleged murder.

Canada police at the site of a stabbing incident in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Picture for representational purpose only). (AP)

Canada police at the site of a stabbing incident in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Picture for representational purpose only). (AP)

The incident occurred on Sunday, around 5.40pm and followed a brief altercation outside the outlet between two men.

The victim was identified by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) on Monday as 37-year-old Paul Stanley Schmidt. Meanwhile, Inderdeep Singh Gosal, 32, has been charged with second-degree murder.


Police continue to seek additional witnesses to the crime. “We believe this homicide was witnessed by dozens of bystanders, and there may be people with information who have not yet come forward,” VPD Sergeant Steve Addison said, in a release.

“We particularly want to hear from anyone who was present in the moments before the stabbing, or anyone who has cell-phone video of the incident.”

Investigators don’t believe the victim and suspect knew each other. The release added that the “the circumstances that led up to the fatal stabbing remain under investigation”.

A police constable patrolling the area was flagged down “moments after” the stabbing occurred. The suspect was arrested at the crime scene. Officers attempted to save the victim’s life but he did not survive and succumbed to the injuries sustained after being rushed to hospital.

Raw footage of the incident posted online have gone viral throughout Canada, as they show the victim lying outside the Starbucks, surrounded by his own blood, and also the alleged murderer, walking in and out of the glass doors to the establishment. Another video shows Gosal being arrested and taken into custody by police.

Schmidt was the city’s sixth homicide victim of this year.

The apparent random act of violence attracted criticism of the law and order situation in Vancouver, among the major cities in Canada. Filmmaker Aaron Gunn tweeted, “Things are not getting better. They are still getting worse.”

Get Latest World Newsalong with Latest Newsfrom Indiaat Hindustan Times.


    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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Is femicide in Canada's Criminal Code? – CTV News



Advocates are pushing for the term femicide to be added to Canada’s Criminal Code, saying it would help raise awareness on the issue.

In 2020, a report by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability found that one woman or girl is killed every two and a half days in Canada. Femicide refers to homicides that target women and girls because of their gender.

Understanding the violence females face specifically, advocates are hoping for more awareness of femicide at the federal level.


“It’s really important that we name femicide,” Jennifer Hutton, CEO of Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, Ont, told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday. “There are some unique traits about femicide. It’s really about men’s violence against women.”

Hutton believes femicide should be in the Criminal Code to prevent tragedies through better understanding.

“Until we name it, then how can we change it?” she said.”When it’s a separate part of the Criminal Code, then we have better data to track it, so we know just how prevalent it really is.”

Femicide can include instances when a woman or girl is killed by an intimate partner, a non-intimate partner, or in an armed conflict. The term can also include women who are not the intended victim, but are killed in the femicide of another woman, too.

For Indigenous women and girls, Hutton says they are killed at six times the rate of non-Indigenous women and girls.

Hutton is partnering with Jenna Mayne, who hosts the podcast “She is Your Neighbour” focusing on femicide in Canada.

“We hear from survivors, we hear from family members who have lost women to femicide, and we hear from experts,” Mayne said. “I think these stories are difficult to hear, but they’re so important to hear too.”


To listen to the full interview click the video at the top of this article. 

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Grocery rebate coming in federal budget 2023



The 2023 federal budget will include a one-time “grocery rebate” for Canadians with lower incomes who may be struggling with the rising cost of food, CTV News has confirmed.

According to sources, the new measure will be unveiled in Tuesday’s federal budget and will help nearly 11 million lower-income Canadians.

The new measure would see eligible couples with two children receive a payment of up to $467, a senior would receive $225, while a single person would receive $234 dollars.

The benefit will be rolled out through the GST rebate system, once a bill implementing it passes in the House of Commons, according to sources. This move is essentially re-upping and re-branding the recent GST rebate boost.


The amounts expected to be offered are exactly what the Liberals offered through last fall’s doubling of the GST credit, a boost that was estimated to cost $2.5 billion and got all-party backing. It’s not expected that there will be a requirement to spend the rebate on groceries.

According to Statistics Canada’s latest inflation report, food prices rose 11.4 per cent year-over-year in January, nearly double the rate of inflation of 5.9 per cent and up from 11 per cent the previous month.

The increased cost of food has been the focus of a parliamentary study that’s seen grocery CEOs, including Loblaw chairman and president Galen Weston, grilled over grocery profits.

“I’ve been talking with Canadians from coast, to coast, to coast over the past many months hearing directly concerns around affordability, around the high cost of food, of rent, of so many different things. That’s why a big part of the budget will be focused on measures to help Canadians in targeted ways,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Parliament Hill on Monday.

“Groceries will certainly be part of it but, there’s other things as well that we’re going to continue to do to be there for Canadians…I look forward to a great budget tomorrow.”

The NDP had been calling for the Liberals to double the GST tax credit. Reacting to the news, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said this measure “looks very much like… what we’ve been asking for, for a long time.”

Both Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have been hinting for weeks that the 2023 budget would include targeted affordability measures to directly help those feeling the pinch of inflation the most.

“This support will be narrowly focused and fiscally responsible. The truth is, we can’t fully compensate every single Canadian for all of the effects of inflation or for elevated interest rates,” Freeland said last week in a pre-budget speech signalling her priorities. “To do so would only make inflation worse and force rates higher, for longer.”

On Monday afternoon, the finance minister took part in a long-standing tradition of picking out a new pair of shoes to wear on budget day.

This year, Freeland opted for a pair of black heels that were on sale at Canadian retailer Simons, from the store’s in-house brand. She placed them in a reusable tote bag after purchase.


With the economy expected to continue slowing in the months ahead, potentially leading to a recession, Freeland is facing calls for the massive fiscal document to include a plan to promote economic growth.

Amid Bank of Canada’s interest rate hikes, inflation cooled to 5.2 per cent in February. That’s down from 5.9 per cent in January, after 40-year record highs over the summer, reaching 8.1 per cent in June.

“What Canadians want right now is for inflation to come down and for interest rates to fall. And that is one of our primary goals in this year’s budget: not to pour fuel on the fire of inflation,” Freeland said in her pre-budget positioning speech.

At the same time, she signalled the 2023 federal budget will still be prioritizing “two significant and necessary investments”: the $46.2 billion in new funding included in the $196 billion federal-provincial health-care funding deals, and new measures to boost Canada’s clean industrial economy.

It’s the latter that government officials have signalled will get some attention in tomorrow’s budget, with several news outlets reporting there will be sizable—30 per cent, according to Reuters— new clean technology-focused tax credits to generate growth in the electrical vehicle supply chain and in critical mineral extraction and processing.

The November 2022 fall economic update had telegraphed that these kinds of credits and investments were ahead.

“Tomorrow…we’re bringing forward a budget that is focused on affordability and supporting Canadians… and creating great jobs for the middle class in a clean and growing economy. Those are the focuses that we’ve been laser focused on over the past many years,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons on Monday, fresh off of U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit, where the green economy was a central piece of discussion.

Canada’s clear focus on the clean transition comes in part out of a need for these sectors to remain competitive in the face of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which offers billions of dollars in energy incentives south of the border.

The Canadian Press has also reported that Tuesday’s budget will include an increase to the withdrawal limit for a registered education savings plan (RESP) from $5,000 to $8,000; and a plan to go after hidden or unexpected consumer fees known as “junk fees” that inflate the overall cost of a product or service.

Finance Canada officials, who for some time have been parsing the stacks of pre-budget submissions from various industries and sectors, will also have to factor in the Liberals’ commitments to the New Democrats, with key planks of the two-party confidence deal due to come to fruition this year.

“We still want to see confirmation of the dental care expansion to include seniors, people living with disabilities and kids 18 and under. We really want this budget to save money for people, and that’s something really important for us,” Singh said.

With this budget, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has called on the federal government to lower taxes, end “inflationary” spending, match new spending with savings, and improve housing affordability.

“He wants to take away everybody’s money, centralize it in his own hands, and promise that it will trickle down through his mighty bureaucracy… And there will maybe be a few little drops that get down to the people who actually earned it in the first place,” Poilievre levelled at the prime minister during Monday’s question period. “Will he cap government spending and put an end to the inflationary deficits, tomorrow?”

The fall economic statement issued in November 2022 projected the federal deficit at $36.4 billion in 2022-23, down from the $52.8 billion forecast in the April 2022 federal budget. Freeland also forecasted that federal coffers could be back to balance by 2027-28.

The 2023 federal budget is coming just ahead of a two-week break in the House of Commons, allowing Liberal MPs to then descend on their ridings to promote it to their constituents before coming back to the capital to work on getting the budget implementation legislation passed through the minority Parliament.

With files from CTV News’ Chief Political Correspondent Vassy Kapelos, and’s Michael Lee and Spencer Van Dyk 


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