India demands action over controversial Indira Gandhi assassination float in Canada | World News - Hindustan Times
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India demands action over controversial Indira Gandhi assassination float in Canada

Jun 10, 2024 02:27 PM IST

The float was part of a parade in Brampton commemorating the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, when the Indian Army stormed the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar to eliminate Khalistani extremists, including their leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale

Toronto: India has sought “exemplary action” from all levels of Canadian Government after a float featuring the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was displayed at an event in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on Sunday.

The “punishment” posters displayed during a parade in Brampton on Sunday
The “punishment” posters displayed during a parade in Brampton on Sunday

The float was part of a parade taken out in Brampton to mark the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, when the Indian Army stored the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar to flush out Khalistani extremists including their leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Other than the float, which featured an effigy of Indira Gandhi as she was being fired upon by her bodyguards, it also featured posters, stating her “punishment” had been “delivered” on October 31, 1984, the date of the assassination.

Alongside was featured images of pro-Khalistan element Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was murdered in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18, 2023, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and part of his statement in the House of Commons that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing. Below them was a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the legend, “punishment waiting.”

The secessionist group Sikhs for Justice or SFJ has said the next “target” will be Modi for “transnational repression” and Nijjar’s killing.

This float appeared just three days after a similar display during a protest in front of India’s Consulate in Vancouver. Reacting to that on Friday, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc posted on X, “The promotion of violence is never acceptable in Canada.”

However, that doesn’t appear to have deterred pro-Khalistan elements in Canada. In a statement, India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma said, “We sincerely urge all levels of governments in Canada to take exemplary action against the public display of violence and hatred.” India has formally raised the matter with Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry.

Describing as “abhorrent” the public depiction of the assassination, Verma added, “Indian nationals living in Canada feel intimidated by such hatred being propagated. Unfortunately, this has happened in Canada time and again. Canadian systems and society have failed to put any cost on the perpetrators.”

Last year, on June 4, a similar float was part of a martyrdom day event in the GTA. Indira Gandhi’s assassination was followed by the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and elsewhere in the country, which resulted in thousands being killed and businesses looted.

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