'Celebration' of Indira Gandhi's killing: What really happened at Canada event? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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'Celebration' of Indira Gandhi's killing: What really happened at Canada event?

Jun 08, 2023 04:11 PM IST

The parade was allegedly organised by pro-Khalistani supporters on June 4, days before the 39th anniversary of ‘Operation Bluestar’.

A massive controversy has erupted over a social media video of a parade float depicting late prime minister Indira Gandhi's assassination in Canada. The parade by pro-Khalistani radicals in Brampton city of the North American country, which has witnessed a rise in anti-India elements recently.

The incident has evoked strong reactions in India, with the Narendra Modi government also registering its protest with its Canadian counterpart. Here's what all happened at the Canadian event.

The provocation

Parade float depicting Indira Gandhi's assassination at an event organised by pro-Khalistani supporters in Brampton city of Canada.(Screengrab from video tweeted by @BalrajDeol4)
Parade float depicting Indira Gandhi's assassination at an event organised by pro-Khalistani supporters in Brampton city of Canada.(Screengrab from video tweeted by @BalrajDeol4)

According to media reports, the parade took place in Ontario's Greater Toronto area. The parade was allegedly organised by pro-Khalistani supporters on June 4, days before the 39th anniversary of ‘Operation Bluestar’.

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Operation Bluestar was an Indian armed forces operation carried out to flush out Damdami Taksal leader and separatist Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and his supporters from the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards months after the military operation.

The viral video showed several figures depicting the late PM and her killers, who were displayed. The parade also had a sign saying the assassination was “Revenge for Attack on Shri Darbar Sahib”.

India's response

The Indian high commission in Ottawa sent a note expressing displeasure to Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian foreign ministry. “You cannot exceed freedom of expression like this, glorifying the assassination of the leader of a democratic nation,” an Indian official said on condition of anonymity.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar said the incident is not good for relationships and Canada.

Cong raises strong objection

The Congress has termed the incident ‘despicable’ and urged external affairs minister S Jaishankar to take the issue strongly with the Canadian authorities. Senior Congress leader Milind Deora had tweeted he was appalled by the parade. “It's not about taking sides, it's about respect for a nation's history & the pain caused by its Prime Minister’s assassination. This extremism deserves universal condemnation & a united response,” he had said.

Canada's response

Canadian high commissioner in India Cameron MacKay condemned the reported incident, tweeting, "I am appalled by reports of an event in Canada that celebrated the assassination of late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There is no place in Canada for hate or for the glorification of violence. I categorically condemn these activities,” Cameron MacKay tweeted.

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