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Canada warns citizens of possibility of ‘intimidation or harassment’ in India

Oct 20, 2023 08:54 AM IST

The advisory said the Consulates General of Canada in Bengaluru, Chandigarh, and Mumbai were temporarily suspending in-person operations

Canada updated a travel advisory warning citizens of the possibility of “anti-Canada protests” as well as “intimidation or harassment” after announcing the withdrawal of 41 diplomats from India on Friday.

Tensions escalated following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement about “credible allegations" linking Indian government agents to a Khalistani leader’s murder. (REUTERS)

The advisory said the Consulates General of Canada in Bengaluru, Chandigarh, and Mumbai were temporarily suspending in-person operations. It added that citizens could obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi.

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Canadian foreign affairs minister Mélanie Joly, who announced the diplomats were returning to Canada due to the ultimatum from New Delhi that they will be stripped of diplomatic immunity if they remained in the country beyond Friday, said they will now be forced to pause temporarily all in-person services at consulates until further notice.

The advisory under the Safety and Security section cited “recent developments in Canada and in India”. It added there are calls for protests and some negative sentiment towards Canada in traditional media and on social media. “Demonstrations, including anti-Canada protests, could occur and Canadians may be subjected to intimidation or harassment,” the advisory said, which was updated after Joly’s press conference in Ottawa.

“In Delhi and the National Capital Region, you should keep a low profile with strangers, and not share your personal information with them. Avoid crowded areas, including public transportation. You should always travel with someone and inform a friend or a family member of your travel plans.”

India indefinitely stopped processing visas for Canadians after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement on September 18 that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link to Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18.

Nijjar, whom India considered a terrorist but no charges were levelled against him in Canada, was killed in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara he headed in Surrey in British Columbia.

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