As the manhunt to arrest Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh continues, Canada Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has said her country is very closely following the developments in Punjab, reported PTI on Saturday.
“We are aware of the evolving situation in Punjab, and we are following it very closely,” she said in Parliament. “We look forward to a return to a more stable situation.”
The minister said that Canadian citizens can always count on the government to ensure that it addresses “the concerns of many members of the community”.
Joly was answering a question from Indo-Canadian MP Iqwinder S Gaheer, who had said that he heard about the ongoing mass suspension of Internet services in Punjab and asked the minister to update the House about the situation in India.
Mobile internet services were suspended in Punjab on March 18 days after he and his supporters stormed a police station in Amritsar on February 23 following the arrest of one of the preacher’s aides for alleged assault and attempted kidnapping. Services resumed in some areas on Tuesday.
Singh, who garnered a significant following through his speeches that often focussed on Punjab’s youth and religion, has also given several interviews supporting demands for Khalistan, an independent state for Sikhs.
Meanwhile, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has urged citizens living abroad not to believe “inaccurate and motivated narratives” that are being circulated on social media.
“Authorities in Punjab are undertaking operations to nab a fugitive,” he said. “Information regarding that operation is being shared by authorities concerned on a regular basis.”
Protests had broken out in several places as the police crackdown began against Singh and his organisation, Waris Punjab De.