India’s Farm Laws, Kashmir’s Status To Come Up At Canada-Based NDP’s Convention
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India’s Farm Laws, Kashmir’s Status To Come Up At Canada-Based NDP’s Convention

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The resolutions at the three-day national convention starting on Friday will be voted upon by the delegates, and if accepted, will become the party’s policy

Condemnation of the Indian government over last year’s farm deregulation laws that have sparked protests, as well as the 2019 revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s semiautonomous status are among the resolutions that feature on the agenda of the Canada-based New Democratic Party’s (NDP) national convention starting on Friday.

The resolutions at the three-day affair will be voted upon by the delegates, and if accepted, will become the party’s policy.

The resolution for “International solidarity with Indian farmers” was moved by members of the party from Brampton East.

The NDP is led by Jagmeet Singh, who was denied a visa by the Indian government in December 2013. At that time, he was a member of the provincial parliament (MPP) in Ontario, making him perhaps the first-ever sitting member of a Western legislature to have been barred from travelling to India.

Later, in March 2018, he was forced to disavow all “acts of terrorism” even as he was in the eye of a storm over his appearance at a 2015 event in San Francisco, during which he spoke at a platform in the backdrop of a poster of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, considered in India as the person who gave the Khalistan movement a violent spin in the 1980s.

While he contested elections in 2019 to the House of Commons from Burnaby South in British Columbia, the town of Brampton, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), is Singh’s home base and his brother Gurratan Singh is an Ontario MPP from the region.

The resolution calls for “the federal government to condemn India’s actions and take a firm stand in standing up for farmers and the human rights abuses being carried out by the Indian government” and demands “international accountability to protect the rights of farmers to peacefully protest without duress”.

Also, two resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir feature in the section “Redefining Canada’s place in the world”.

One expresses solidarity with the people of the region who the resolution claims have been “denied their right to self-determination” by both India and Pakistan. The second one claims the revocation of Article 370 has led to “renewing the dispute over Kashmir with Pakistan and China that resulted in heightened diplomatic, military and civil unrest, including widespread human rights abuses, in the area”.

Many of the resolutions to be considered by the party have already come in for sharp criticism for being impractical. Among them are the phasing out of the Canadian Armed Forces; defunding, disarming and disbanding police forces in the country including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Canada’s withdrawal from NATO; abolishing billionaires; and nationalising the auto industry, big banks and insurance companies.

Without referring to the India-specific resolutions, columnist Terry Glavin wrote in the daily Ottawa Citizen on Wednesday that to read through the resolutions in the chapter on “Redefining Canada’s place in the world”, was to be “left with the impression, if you’re a reasonably literate observer of the world, that these people have lost their damn minds”.

On Monday, columnist John Ivison wrote in the daily National Post that “the sheer number of impractical and preposterous ideas suggests not so much an irrational fringe, as an institution that is in danger of being taken over by its moonstruck inmates”.

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