India to complain to Canada over a float displaying an effigy of late PM Indira Gandhi | World News - Hindustan Times
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India to complain to Canada over a float displaying an effigy of late PM Indira Gandhi

Jun 07, 2024 10:59 AM IST

The float was part of protest on the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, when the Indian Army stormed the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar to flush out Khalistani extremists including their leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale

Toronto: India will formally raise with Canada the matter of a float depicting the assassination of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during a protest related to Operation Bluestar by pro-Khalistan elements in front of its consulate in Vancouver on Thursday.

A float featuring the assassination of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in front of the Indian consulate in Vancouver, Canada on Thursday. (Supplied photo)
A float featuring the assassination of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in front of the Indian consulate in Vancouver, Canada on Thursday. (Supplied photo)

The float was part of protest on the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, when the Indian Army stormed the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar to flush out Khalistani extremists including their leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The call for a lockdown of India’s mission to Canada had been given by the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice.

The formal diplomatic complaint, a note verbale, will be conveyed to Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry on Friday, a senior Indian official said.

While protests were also organised at consulate in Toronto as well, such floats did not appear there, though each venue had protesters carrying “Khalistan” flags and shouting anti-India slogans.

Gurpatwant Pannun, SFJ’s general-counsel, warned that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “target” for “transnational terrorism” and the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18 last year.

Local law enforcement along with diplomatic security units prevented any untoward incident at the missions as protesters gathered outside them.

The float featured an effigy of Indira Gandhi, showing her riddled with bullets including through the forehead and also displayed her assassins, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, with guns pointed towards her. Beant Singh, who was part of her security detail, was hanged for the assassination and his son Sarabjit Singh Khalsa was elected to the Lok Sabha from Faridkot in Punjab on June 6. His election was referenced by SFJ as well as the election of jailed separatist Amritpal Singh from Khadoor Sahib, also a Punjab constituency.

Last year, on June 4, a float featuring the assassination of late Prime Minister was part of a martyrdom day event in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). At the time, Canada’s High Commissioner to New Delhi Cameron Mackay had condemned the float, as he said, “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.”

Indira Gandhi served as the first and only woman Prime Minister of India from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984. She was shot dead by two of her own bodyguards at her official residence on October 31, 1984. The assassination was followed by anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and elsewhere in the country, in which thousands of Sikhs were killed and businesses looted.

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