NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks at an availability following caucus meetings in Ottawa. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Singh says he won’t attend events featuring people who promote political violence

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will no longer attend events where people advocate violence — as long as he’s made aware of their beliefs beforehand.

Singh said Wednesday he categorically rejects all forms of political violence.

“I absolutely draw a distinction between political violence and someone advocating for independence or self-determination,” he told reporters after an NDP caucus meeting.

“That’s up to people to advocate for. There’s clearly a right to to that. (But) if an event promotes violence, I do not accept that. I do not accept violence. Political violence is not something that is acceptable.

“If there is someone on stage advocating political violence, no, absolutely not (I won’t go). If I know that ahead of time, I will not be going to any event where anyone is advocating political violence.”

Singh has recently had to defend his appearances at various events which promoted the idea of Sikh independence, including one in which he is seen sitting quietly beside a Sikh leader in England who says his vision of Sikhism endorses “violence as a legitimate source of resistance and survival.”

Last week, Singh issued a blanket condemnation of terrorist acts following media reports about his attendance at a California rally three years ago that sang the praises of Sikh separatism and a violent religious leader killed during the 1984 invasion of India’s Golden Temple.

A source said around 20 NDP MPs — about one-half of the party’s caucus — had asked him to state unequivocally he would no longer take part in events alongside Sikh separatists who promote violence.

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