‘Violent imagery’: India protests Khalistan float at Canada’s Khalsa Day parade | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Violent imagery’: India protests Khalistan float at Canada’s Khalsa Day parade

May 08, 2024 05:05 AM IST

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal recalled that a float depicting Indira Gandhi’s assassination was part of another procession in Canada last year

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday reacted strongly to pro-Khalistan activists in Canada displaying an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in chains at a parade, and called on the Justin Trudeau government to stop providing “safe haven and political space” to criminal and secessionist elements.

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said celebration and glorification of violence should not be a part of any civilised society. (Screengrab/Representative Image)
MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said celebration and glorification of violence should not be a part of any civilised society. (Screengrab/Representative Image)

The Indian side reiterated its concerns for the security of Indian diplomats in Canada and said it expects Ottawa to ensure they are able to carry out their responsibilities without fear. The developments marked another downturn in bilateral ties that have been in freefall since Prime Minister Trudeau accused Indian government agents of being linked to the killing of a Khalistani leader last year.

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Pro-Khalistan elements in Canada had taken up their anti-India provocation a notch on Sunday by including a float with an effigy of Modi in chains and within a cage in a Khalsa Day parade at Malton town in the Greater Toronto Area. The parade was joined by men holding Khalistan pennants and shouting separatist slogans.

Responding to a question about the float in the parade at Malton, external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said India has repeatedly raised its strong concerns about the “violent imagery” used by extremist elements in Canada against the country’s political leadership.

“We again call upon the government of Canada to stop providing criminal and secessionist elements a safe haven and political space in Canada,” he said.

Jaiswal recalled that a float depicting the assassination of former premier Indira Gandhi was part of another procession organised by Khalistani activists in Canada in June last year. Posters featuring Indian diplomats and threatening violence against them have been put up across Canada, he said.

“We continue to remain concerned about the security of our diplomatic representatives in Canada and expect the government of Canada to ensure that they are able to carry out their responsibilities without fear,” he added.

Jaiswal further said: “Celebration and glorification of violence should not be a part of any civilised society. Democratic countries which respect the rule of law should not allow intimidation by radical elements in the name of freedom of expression.”

In response to India’s repeated calls for action against pro-Khalistan elements holding out threats against Indian diplomats or depicting Indian leaders in a poor light at public events, Canadian officials have said that such activities are covered by freedom of expression and that they cannot act as no laws have been broken.

Indian officials have also contended that authorities in the US and Australia have responded with greater alacrity to complaints about similar activities by pro-Khalistan elements in those countries.

The float at the parade in Malton was promoted by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), already declared a terrorist entity by India. SFJ linked the display to a recent comment by Trudeau that Canada is “a rule-of-law country with a strong and independent justice system, as well as a fundamental commitment to protecting all its citizens”.

Trudeau made those remarks after three Indian nationals were arrested last week in connection with the killing of pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey town in June last year. Nijjar too was declared a terrorist by the Indian government.

The parade in Malton was organised a week after Trudeau addressed a similar celebration in Toronto, amid pro-Khalistan and anti-India slogans and signage. SFJ has said it will convene a “Citizens Court of Canada” in Vancouver on June 18, the first anniversary of Nijjar’s death, that will focus on the “charges of ordering, abetting, conspiring and facilitating” the killing of the Khalistani activist.

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