Toronto temple defaced with posters targeting Indian diplomats ahead of pro-Khalistan rally | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Toronto temple defaced with posters targeting Indian diplomats ahead of pro-Khalistan rally

Jul 08, 2023 11:01 AM IST

Even as a temple in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was desecrated with a poster targeting Indian diplomats in Canada placed in front of it, a group of Indo-Canadians have planned a rally at India’s Consulate in Toronto to counter that by pro-Khalistan elements on Saturday.

Even as a temple in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was desecrated with a poster targeting Indian diplomats in Canada placed in front of it, a group of Indo-Canadians have planned a rally at India’s Consulate in Toronto to counter that by pro-Khalistan elements on Saturday.

A pro-Khalistan posters threatening Indian diplomats in Canada placed in front of the Bharat Mata Mandir in the Greater Toronto Area on Friday
A pro-Khalistan posters threatening Indian diplomats in Canada placed in front of the Bharat Mata Mandir in the Greater Toronto Area on Friday

While the controversial anti-India poster from the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice or SFJ has circulated online so far, this was the first instance of a physical version appearing. As in the case of the series of vandalisations of temples in recent months, a video of such a poster being placed in Brampton was amplified by what appeared to be pro-Khalistan elements and multiple Pakistan-based handles.

The poster outside the Bharat Mata Mandir in Brampton was placed in the early hours of Friday and discovered by temple volunteers in the morning and then removed, one of the temple officials confirmed to the Hindustan Times. It featured the images of India’s High Commissioner in Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma, Consul General in Toronto Apoorva Srivastava and Consul General in Vancouver Manish. Similar posters also appeared at various other locations in the GTA.

Meanwhile, as pro-Khalistan elements plan their so-called Khalistan Freedom Rally on July 8, to commence from Malton in the GTA to the Indian Consulate in Toronto, a group of Indo-Canadians are organisng a march to counter them. No organisation is putting together the march but it is taking shape organically.

Among those participating will be Toronto-based Virender Singh, who said, “We are a group of concerned citizens of Indo-Canadian heritage. We believe that Canadian values do not align with the threats to Indian diplomats.”

Another person likely to join is Arvind Mishra from Brampton, who said he was concerned over the “extreme rise of hatred” and the lack of action from Canadian authorities. “What would they do if people held rallies under the banner of Al Qaeda or ISIS (Islamic State) with posters of Osama bin Laden or the ISIS chief?” he asked.

The rally on Saturday is being held in the name of Harjit Singh Nijjar. SFJ has blamed India for his “assassination” on June 18. Nijjar was murdered in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey, British Columbia, which he headed. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team or Investigation Team or IHIT, which is probing the killing has not ascribed any motive while it seeks the murderers.

Nijjar was alleged to be the head of the Khalistan Tiger Force by Indian law enforcement and faced several terror-related charges, while being the principal SFJ figure in the Metro Vancouver region. The National Investigation Agency or NIA had announced an award of 10 lakh for information leading to his capture. However, none of the charges against him were tested in Canadian courts and SFJ has maintained it does not use violence.

However, the posters online, and the one outside the temple in the GTA level the SFJ accusation against India, as their photographs came with the legend, Faces of Shaheed Nijjar’s Killers in Canada.” It also used the phrase ‘War Zone’. The video posted on social media displays a circle around the High Commissioner’s face, with an arrow pointing at him, clearly marking him out as a target. It features pro-Khalistan slogans as well.

Given the palpable threat, India has sought strengthened security measures for its personnel and missions in the country. India has communicated its concerns over security to Canadian authorities including Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which is tasked with diplomatic security, as well as local police detachment sin Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. An official said physical police presence had been enhanced at the locations.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on World News, US News , Hollywood News , Anime and Top Headlines from around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On