India calls on Canada to ensure safety of Indo-Canadians
India on Thursday has formally called on Canadian authorities to “take all possible measures to ensure the continued safety and security of Indian nationals” after several Indo-Canadians were reported to have received threats from extremist elements in the country.
The Indian High Commission in Ottawa has raised this matter in an official communique that was sent to Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry.
The communique acknowledges that while the incidents may be an internal matter for Canada, concern among people in India for their family and friends in Canada had pushed the high commission to request the relevant authorities “to immediately investigate these incidents”.
“These graphic and disturbing images of assault have caused grave concern in India and people in India are concerned about the safety of their families and friends in Canada,” the communique said.
“Such incidents, if left unchecked, can cause friction within the Indian community in Canada and create law and order issues while negatively impacting the warm and friendly relations between Canada and India,” it added.
The high commission also asked the ministry to it “keep it apprised of the investigations and actions taken into the identification and prosecution of the extremist elements responsible for such assaults”.
This communication comes in the wake of reports of threat and intimidation against Indo-Canadians by pro-Khalistani elements in Canada, a development which was first reported on February 8 by the Hindustan Times.
The latest flashpoint came after a video of unprovoked assault of a participant in the Tiranga-Maple Car Rally, organised on Sunday by the Indian community to celebrate the imminent arrival of Indian-made Covid-19 vaccines in Canada, went viral. In the video, the two men are seen arguing after which, the assailant violently pushes the victim to the ground. Neither the victim nor the assailants have been identified yet.
“There must be zero tolerance for violence and threats at protests. I was disappointed this weekend to see a video circulating of violence at the Tiranga and Maple car rally,” Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, where the incident occurred, told reporters on Wednesday.
“The notion anyone would face violence or intimidation, or threats is abhorrent,” he said in a separate interaction with the media.
Brown also connected with worried community members on social media to reassure them, including Brampton-based Dharma Jain. “Response looks positive, but action has to be prompt.” Jain told Hindustan Times after interacting with the mayor.
Peel police is investigating the incident, a member of Brown’s office told Hindustan Times on Wednesday.