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Misinformation, false narratives being created about India in West: Indian-American oncologist Bharat Barai

'The Khalistan problem is only in Canada, maybe a little bit in the US. If the US government wants to give them a piece of land, let them be happy. After all, they're foreign citizens. They're either citizens of the US or citizens of Canada. What right do they have to interfere in what is happening in India?' he said in an interview.
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 03:42 IST
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 03:42 IST

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Washington: Misinformation and false narratives are being created about Indian democracy in the West in the middle of an election cycle in India, a prominent Indian-American oncologist has said, observing that some people in the West continue to have a colonial mentality.

Chicago-based Dr Bharat Barai, in an interview on Sunday, hit out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not taking action against Sikh separatists who are “openly planning and supporting violence inside India and Indian leaders”.

“The Khalistan problem is only in Canada, maybe a little bit in the US. If the US government wants to give them a piece of land, let them be happy. After all, they're foreign citizens. They're either citizens of the US or citizens of Canada. What right do they have to interfere in what is happening in India?” Dr Barai told PTI in an interview here.

“If they want a separate land for them, let (Canadian Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau give it to them. If the US thinks that's a good idea (let them do so)…we are standing right in front of Abraham Lincoln (memorial in Washington DC). What did he do when the South (US) wanted to secede? We had a civil war. In Washington DC, he is being celebrated as the father of the nation,” he said.

“This (Khalistan) is not a problem of India. Indian Sikhs don't want to have anything to do with it. It is the foreign-born or foreign-living Sikhs and only a very tiny fraction of them,” Dr Barai said.

Referring to the number of news articles and commentaries appearing in the Western press, including that of the US, raising questions about democracy, freedom of expression, and human rights in India, the influential Indian-American said that a section of the people is spreading misinformation and creating false narratives about India.

“My feeling is that some of the people in the West still have a colonial mentality. They still think that they are the supreme judges of the world. They are the ones who are going to judge what happens in any other country in the world, and they are going to be the Ayatullah who will give the ultimate word,” Dr Barai said.

“But this is a different India. India has progressed a lot in the last 10 years. It has become the fifth-largest economy in the world. It is also progressing militarily. It is staying truly non-aligned. It is friends with the USA, with the UK, Australia, and Germany. But it is also friends with Russia. So, India cannot be deterred by this kind of criticism,” he said.

“Fortunately, Prime Minister Modi has a fairly confident and fairly strong personality to ward off all this kind of unnecessary, unwarranted advice… there are guys like Pannun who openly give threats that they are going to put a bomb, they're going to blow up the airliner… telling Hindus to get out of Canada. Nothing happens to them. What kind of law and order Mr Trudeau is talking about when not one person has been arrested," he said.

“I think there is a total misinformation, total false narrative, whether it is deliberate or because of poor information or misinformation,” Dr Barai said in response to a question while asserting that India has a “very vibrant” democracy.

“Think of it. People (in India) have been abusing Narendra Modi and so many people. If there was no democracy, if there was dictatorship, how would they be able to do it? How the election has passed peacefully and more people have exercised their franchise, almost 66 per cent, in India than even in the USA. How can you say that democracy does not work?” he questioned the critics of Indian democracy.

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Published 13 May 2024, 03:42 IST

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