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Pro-Khalistani protests held outside Indian diplomatic missions in Canada

IANS | September 26, 2023 11:09 AM

TORONTO: Several Khalistan supporters rallied outside Indian diplomatic missions in the Canadian cities of Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of India's involvement in the murder of radical Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Sikh temple in Surrey on June 18 this year with Khalistanis across Canada holding Indian diplomats responsible for his death.

In downtown Vancouver, around 75 people gathered outside the Consul General of India on Monday chanting pro-Khalistani slogans, where demonstration was staged atop a large flag of India placed on the wet ground, the CBC news outlet reported.

Vancouver police closed the 300 block of Howe Street in anticipation of the event -- called by Khalistani outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) -- which came amid a heavy police presence.

Meera Bains, a Sikh-Canadian journalist posted a video of the protest on X, which showed a poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi garlanded with slippers.

She wrote: "Protest in front of the Indian consulate underway on Howe Street in Vancouver. So far a few dozen people but very organised with flags, signs, loud speakers, and PM Modi image on cardboard."

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, leader of SFJ, which was banned by India in 2019, was also present during the protests in Vancouver, and said that they are here "to shut down every Indian Consulate in the world today because the Indian back face has come to the front face".

While announcing the protests a week ago, Pannun had said that they would also be calling for the expulsion of High Commissioner Sanjay Verma.

Pannun, whose properties in Punjab were recently confiscated by the Indian government, had recently released a video with a view to divide Hindu and Sikh communities in Canada, asking all Hindus of Indian-origin to go back to their mother country.

In Toronto and Ottawa, around 70 people demonstrated in front of the Indian High Commission, calling India to cooperate with the Canadian government in the investigation of Nijjar's murder.

Tensions flared between India and Canada following Trudeau's allegations that India was behind the killing of Nijjar -- a designated terrorist in India.

India rejected the allegations, calling them "absurd and motivated".

Beginning this year, Khalistanis across the US, the UK, Australia and Canada have been calling referendums, vandalising Hindu temples and Indian missions and installations with spiteful anti-India graffiti.

Following Nijjar's death in June, the Sikh radicals have unleashed a poster war across Canada, blaming Indian diplomats and High Commissioner Verma for the killing.

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