India Raises Issue of Public Display of Violence Against Late PM Indira Gandhi in Canada

India has formally raised concerns with Canadian authorities regarding public displays of violence and hatred targeting the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. During a pro-Khalistan demonstration in the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday, a float depicted Gandhi being assassinated and posters promoting violence were displayed. This follows a similar incident in Vancouver last week, prompting India to urge Canadian authorities to take strong action against such displays.

The float, part of a demonstration marking the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, featured an effigy of Gandhi as she was being fired upon by her bodyguards. Other posters stated that her ‘punishment’ had been ‘delivered’ on October 31, 1984, the date of the assassination. The display also included pictures of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a pro-Khalistan figure slain in British Columbia, juxtaposed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement in the House of Commons suggesting ‘credible allegations’ of a possible connection between Indian agents and the murder. Beneath them was a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, captioned with ‘punishment waiting.’

India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma, stated that Indian nationals living in Canada feel intimidated by such hatred and urged all levels of government in Canada to take exemplary action against the public display of violence and hatred. Verma added that Canadian systems and society have failed to hold the perpetrators accountable.

After the Vancouver event on Thursday, India announced its intention to formally raise the matter with Canadian authorities. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar condemned Canada for allowing such a float, which he perceived as glorifying violence by Sikh separatists. Jaishankar emphasized that providing space to separatists and extremists who advocate violence is detrimental to relationships and not in Canada’s best interests.

Canada’s High Commissioner in India, Cameron MacKay, also denounced the incident, stating that there is no place in Canada for hate or the glorification of violence. He categorically condemned such activities.

India has the highest population of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab in India. This incident has raised concerns over the prevalence of pro-Khalistan sentiments in Canada and the need for both countries to address this issue through diplomatic channels.

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