Brampton protest leads to assault charge against relative of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh
The brother-in-law of federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is one of two men charged with assault during recent ethnic skirmishes in Brampton.
The incidents occurred two weeks ago when opposing factions confronted each other along city streets.
The dispute stems from events currently taking place in India where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government proposed laws that would open that country's agricultural sector to private companies. The measures have led to large-scale protests in India by farmers who rely on the land for their livelihood.
Protesters here -- largely from the Sikh community -- have taken up the cause of the farmers with regular rallies and demonstrations. However, on February 28, Hindu-backed pro-Modi supporters staged a counter protest which led to confrontations, several of which were captured on video and posted to social media.
In one video, a man is seen pushing another man to the ground.
Jodhveer Dhaliwal, 30, of Caledon, has been charged by Peel Regional Police with assault causing bodily harm. He is scheduled to attend the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on a future date.
Dhaliwal is federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh's brother-in-law. He is married to Singh's wife's sister. Dhaliwal is also related to Brampton North Liberal MP Ruby Sahota.
Another man, Jaskaran Singh a 27-year-old man from Toronto has also been charged, with assault. He is also scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on a future date.
Following the February 28 confrontations, social media erupted with threats and accusations over which side initiated the conflict as well as raising some historic animosity between the two sides.
The one aspect both sides agree on is the animosity has been simmering in Brampton for some time, prompting Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah to warn both factions to back off.
"There will be no tolerance for violence or criminality," the police chief said at the time. "This has been and will continue to be our service's approach in support of the well-being and safety of our community."
While representatives from both communities have since stated the dispute is political and not religious or culturally-based, privately many say the issue has brought Indian conflicts not only into Canada, but very much out into the open.
"Many of us came to Canada to get away from that old stuff back home," said one observer who has friends on both sides of the dispute. "We have enough issues right here in Brampton; we don't need to bring the problems here. For the most part we get along so we shouldn't allow this to get out of hand."
The friction is also on the minds of the government of India which has filed an official complaint about the Brampton incidents asking the Canadian government to protect the Indian government supporters. As well, NDP leader Singh is not allowed to enter India because he has spoken out against that country's treatment of Sikhs.
(Photo: Video posted on social media captured a confrontation in Brampton between opposing groups of demonstrators)
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