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Canadian Sikhs protest against India gov’t over Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder

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In the wake of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s controversial statements linking New Delhi to the killing of Sikh separatist advocate Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, Canadian Sikhs have taken to the streets, staging protests outside India’s diplomatic missions. Trudeau’s claims have heightened tensions between the two nations, resulting in diplomatic expulsions and visa suspensions. Here’s a closer look at the unfolding events:

Protests Erupt in Canadian Cities:

  • About 100 protesters in Toronto set an Indian flag ablaze and symbolically struck a cardboard cut-out of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a shoe. Approximately 200 demonstrators also gathered outside the Vancouver consulate.

Safety Concerns and Allegations:

  • Joe Hotha, a member of the Sikh community in Toronto, voiced the fear many Sikhs share: “We are not safe back home in Punjab. We are not safe in Canada.” Another protester, Harpar Gosal, accused Indian authorities of being terrorists, claiming they were responsible for Nijjar’s death.

Support for Khalistan:

  • In Ottawa, fewer than 100 people congregated in front of the Indian high commissioner’s office, waving yellow flags bearing the word “Khalistan,” a reference to their support for an independent Sikh state in India’s Punjab region—a cause Nijjar had campaigned for.

Thankfulness Towards Trudeau:

  • Reshma Singh Bolinas expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Trudeau, emphasizing the need to uncover the truth behind Nijjar’s killing and urging Canada to pressure India to prevent further violence against innocent people.

Canada’s Sikh Community and India’s Response:

  • Canada is home to approximately 770,000 Sikhs, the largest Sikh population outside Punjab. Recent demonstrations in Canada have strained relations between the two countries.
  • India has dismissed Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd” and cautioned its citizens about growing “anti-India activities” in Canada.

International Implications:

  • The accusations have drawn international attention and resulted in both countries expelling diplomats and India suspending visas for Canadians.

Demand for Diplomatic Expulsion:

  • Some protesters in Toronto and Ottawa called for the expulsion of the Indian high commissioner, Sanjay Kumar Verma, who assured authorities were providing security.

Nijjar’s Background:

  • Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a plumber, left Punjab for Canada 25 years ago and became a Canadian citizen. India designated him a “terrorist” in 2020.
  • The Canadian government reported collecting human and signals intelligence during a months-long investigation into Nijjar’s activities.

US-Canada Collaboration:

  • The United States collaborated closely with Canada in the intelligence gathering, indicating possible involvement of Indian agents in Nijjar’s killing.

These protests and allegations have exposed the delicate situation involving Canada’s Sikh community, India, and the complexities of international relations. The ongoing diplomatic fallout underscores the need for a thorough investigation to ascertain the truth behind Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s tragic death.

Summary:

  • Canadian Sikhs protest outside Indian diplomatic missions in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in Sikh advocate Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing have escalated tensions.
  • Demonstrators express concerns for their safety and support for Khalistan.
  • Canada’s Sikh community is the largest outside Punjab, India.
  • Diplomatic expulsions and visa suspensions follow Trudeau’s accusations.
  • Protesters demand the expulsion of the Indian high commissioner in Canada.
  • Hardeep Singh Nijjar was designated a “terrorist” by India in 2020.
  • The United States collaborates with Canada on intelligence related to Nijjar’s killing.
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