India summons Canadian envoy to protest activities of pro-Khalistan groups
India sought an explanation from the Canadian high commissioner about how ‘separatist and extremist elements’ were able to breach the security of Indian missions in Canada despite the presence of police
India summoned Canadian high commissioner Cameron MacKay and conveyed its strong concerns about actions by pro-Khalistan elements against the country’s missions in Canada, days after similar protests were lodged with the UK and the US.
MacKay was summoned to the external affairs ministry on Saturday, when the Indian side sought an explanation about how “separatist and extremist elements” were able to breach the security of Indian missions in Canada despite the presence of police, the ministry said in a statement.
Pro-Khalistan activists have organised protests targeting Indian missions and diplomats in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US over the past two weeks and Indian officials believe the demonstrations were coordinated. In all four countries, some of the protests turned violent.
A fresh string of protests began soon after the Punjab police launched a statewide manhunt against pro-Khalistani separatist preacher Amritpal Singh and his followers last week.
The external affairs ministry said the Canadian envoy was summoned on Saturday to “convey our strong concern about the actions of separatist and extremist elements against our diplomatic Mission and Consulates in Canada” last week.
The Indian government “sought an explanation on how such elements were allowed, in the presence of police, to breach the security of our diplomatic Mission and Consulates”.
The Canadian government was reminded of its obligations under the Vienna Convention and “asked to arrest and prosecute the individuals who have already been identified as being involved in such acts”.
The Indian side further said it expects the Canadian government to take all required steps to ensure the safety of Indian diplomats and the security of the country’s diplomatic premises so “that they are able to fulfil their normal diplomatic functions”.
Over the past few months, India has complained to Canada several times about the vandalisation of its diplomatic premises and events that apparently targeted its diplomats. Last week, India’s envoy to Canada, Sanjay Verma, had to call off his participation in a reception organised by the Friends of India & Canada Foundation at Surrey in British Columbia after nearly 200 protestors, some wielding swords, gathered in front of the venue.
Local police were unable to control the crowd and officials advised the envoy against attending the event.
On March 19, India reacted angrily to a violent protest outside the high commission in London by summoning British deputy high commissioner Christina Scott to register a strong protest over “actions taken by separatist and extremist elements”.
The Indian side demanded an explanation for the “complete absence” of British security” at the time and Britain was asked to take “immediate steps to identify, arrest and prosecute each one of those involved” in the protest.
The following day, India lodged a strong protest with US chargé d’affaires Elizabeth Jones over the vandalisation of the Indian consulate in San Francisco during a protest by Khalistani groups.
These protests were organised soon after the Punjab police launched a statewide manhunt for Amritpal Singh and his followers and arrested nearly 100 people. Singh, accused in eight first information reports (FIRs) of abduction, inciting violence and disturbing social harmony, is linked to the Khalistani secessionist movement and is the chief of the Waris Punjab De.