Pro-Khalistan supporters protest outside Indian high commission over Hardeep Nijjar killing
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's allegations linking India to the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar strained ties between the two countries.
Amid the escalating diplomatic row between India and Canada over the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a small group of pro-Khalistan supporters staged a protest outside the Indian high commission in Ottawa on Monday. Reports claimed that around 100 pro-Khalistani supporters waved yellow flags marked with the word ‘Khalistan’ on them outside the Indian consulate.
Some pro-Khalistan supporters also burned an Indian flag and protested against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported news agency Reuters.
Notably, India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
One of the protesters belonging to the Khalistani group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) alleged that India “compromised the sovereignty of Canada”, Reuters reported.
The protest was held a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made stunning allegations linking India to the killing of Nijjar - who was shot dead in June outside a gurdwara in British Columbia, and triggered a massive diplomatic row. While India has dismissed Canada's accusations calling it “absurd and motivated”, Trudeau's move sparked a tit-for-tat action with each nation expelling diplomats.
India suspends visa services for all Canadians, issues advisory
On September 21, India suspended visa services for Canadian citizens citing security threats to its staff in its consulates in Canada, adding that even those Canadian citizens living in another country cannot apply for an Indian visa. Addressing a press conference, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “The issue is not about travel to India but the issue is incitement of violence and inaction by the Canadian government.”
Earlier, India also advised its citizens in Canada to exercise “utmost caution” due to growing anti-India activities and hate crimes. The advisory also reflected the worsening bilateral relations between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Canada updated its travel advisory for its citizens in India asking them to “remain vigilant and exercise caution”. "In the context of recent developments in Canada and in India, there are calls for protests and some negative sentiment towards Canada on social media. Please remain vigilant and exercise caution," the Canadian government said in an update.
(With inputs from Reuters)