India has complained to Ottawa about Canadian Sikh extremists celebrating assassins of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, a consular official has said.
"We object to this open, blatant, glorification of violence and secessionism," Ashok Kumar, consul general of India to this western Canadian metropolis, said on Thursday.
India’s diplomatic complaints came for the second year in a row, after Sikh separatist images, banners and booths were part of festivities in Vancouver this month for the Sikh New Year, Vaisakhi, by immigrants with roots in India's Punjab region.
The celebrations were largely peaceful and drew crowds topping 100,000. But they included controversial groups including the International Sikh Youth Federation, the Khalistan Commando Force, the Khalistan Liberation Force, Bhindranwale's Tiger Force and the Babbar Khalsa.
Most of the groups advocated separate Sikh homeland, Khalistan. After complaints by students, a local school asked some Sikh children not to wear T-shirts printed with a picture of a separatist leader. Kumar said the Indian government complained to Canadian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Helena Guergis earlier this month while the minister was in New Delhi. Kumar said separatist Sikh violence is no longer a problem in India, where the current prime minister is now a Sikh.
"Canada and India are partners in fighting global terrorism," he added. "We've asked Canadian authorities that this display should be stopped. He said India has no position on how Canada should stop activities by Sikh separatists.