Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed home on Friday at the end of his three-nation tour, spending the last day of his tour in the city of Vancouver, visiting a temple and a gurdwara and attending an official dinner hosted by Canadian PM Stephen Harper.
In his final tweets before emplaning for India, Modi said: “I leave Canada with immense satisfaction. This visit will further enhance India-Canada ties. A big thanks to the people of Canada.”
Earlier in the day, slogan-shouting and placard-waving protesters greeted Modi during his visit to a gurdwara and temple, marking the only sore points during his tour.
The protests outside Canada’s oldest gurdwara at Ross Street and the Laxmi Narayan temple in Surrey saw people from different communities raising issues ranging from secularism to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The protesters, some armed with bullhorns, claimed to represent various Indian religious groups, and held up placards referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Modi and Harper also visited the Komagata Maru Museum that commemorates an incident in which a steamship of the same name, which reached Vancouver in 1914 with 376 passengers from Punjab, was forced to return to India after Canada only admitted 24 of its passengers.
The Sikh community is acknowledged as a major contributor to Canada’s economy today. “India is respected in Canada and this is due to your efforts,” Modi told the congregation at the Khalsa Diwan gurdwara.
The gurdwara committee gifted Modi and Harper ceremonial swords.
“This is a very significant visit. Modi is the third Indian PM to come here, after Jawaharlal Nehru in 1949 and Indira Gandhi in 1973,” Khalsa Diwan society president Sohan Singh Deo said.
At the Laxmi Narayan temple, Modi and Harper were presented with shawls.
In his remarks at the temple, Modi said India’s Supreme Court had described Hinduism as a way of life and exhorted the gathering to live life scientifically, in balance with nature, and with compassion.
(With agency inputs)