Pro-India group faces off against pro-Khalistan elements in Canada’s Calgary city | World News - Hindustan Times
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Pro-India group faces off against pro-Khalistan elements in Canada’s Calgary city

Mar 17, 2024 12:44 PM IST

Approximately two dozen Indo-Canadians gathered across the street from the pro-Khalistan protesters, some of whom held weapons, including at least one seen to be holding a sword up

Toronto: A pro-India group faced off against pro-Khalistan elements in the city of Calgary in Alberta on Saturday as the latter gathered to protest in front of a venue for a community event welcoming India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma.

Danielle Smith (centre), Premier of the province of Alberta with India’s High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma (left) and India’s Consul-General in Vancouver Manish, during their meeting in Edmonton last week. (Supplied photo)
Danielle Smith (centre), Premier of the province of Alberta with India’s High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma (left) and India’s Consul-General in Vancouver Manish, during their meeting in Edmonton last week. (Supplied photo)

Approximately two dozen Indo-Canadians gathered across the street from the pro-Khalistan protesters, some of whom held weapons, including at least one seen to be holding a sword up. Local police kept vigil and prevented the two opposing groups from clashing.

The protest was the latest as pro-Khalistani groups have staged similar demonstrations at venue hosting Verma in Surrey on March 1 and Edmonton on March 11.

Given the threat perception, the hosts had already cancelled a scheduled community event in Calgary on Friday but a lunch for the High Commissioner was organised at another location on Saturday afternoon.

The protests have dogged Verma who has travelled to Western Canada for the first time Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in the House of Commons on September 18 there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, three months earlier. A call to “target” Verma at these events was given by the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), for which Nijjar was the principal organiser in BC.

However, Verma’s safety has been assured by Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, and he has been escorted by officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), responsible for diplomatic security, with local law enforcement detachments keeping the pro-Khalistan protesters from approaching him and entering the venues hosting him.

Verma described the engagements in the two provinces as “successful”, as he was hosted at the legislature building in Victoria, capital of BC, and held a meeting with the Surrey Board of Trade in that town. He also met with the Premier of the territory of Yukon while in Vancouver. In Alberta, he met with the province’s Premier Danielle Smith in the capital Edmonton and also attended an event hosted by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce in that city and also held several meetings in Calgary.

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