India summons Canadian high commissioner over pro-Khalistan demonstrations
An event hosting the Indian envoy to Canada had to be cancelled last week due to security concerns after a violent protest by Khalistan supporters.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday summoned the High Commissioner of Canada to convey concern about the actions of “separatist and extremist elements” against New Delhi’s diplomatic offices in the country.
Over the last two weeks, protests have broken out in several places in Canada, United States and the United Kingdom, following the police crackdown against Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh and his organisation Waris Punjab De.
The operation was initiated after Singh and his supporters stormed a police station in Amritsar on February 23 following the arrest of one of the preacher’s aides. The manhunt for Singh is still on as he remains at large.
Last week, Twitter accounts of several Punjab-based journalists and prominent members of the Sikh community had been withheld in India amid the police crackdown. Among the accounts taken down were those of Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh, Canada-based poet Rupi Kaur and voluntary organisation United Sikhs which has its headquarters in the country.
On March 19, an event hosting the Indian envoy to Canada in the British Columbia had to be cancelled due to security concerns following a violent protest by Khalistan supporters, reported PTI. The event was organised to welcome the high commissioner of India, Sanjay Kumar Verma’s first visit to the west coast of the country.
On Saturday, India sought an explanation from the Canadian High Commissioner on how protestors were allowed to breach the security of its diplomatic Mission and Consulates despite police deployment at the offices.
“It is expected that the Canadian Government will take all steps which are required to ensure the safety of our diplomats and security of our diplomatic premises so that they are able to fulfil their normal diplomatic functions,” a press note from India’s foreign ministry stated.
New Delhi’s statement came a day after Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said that her country is very closely following the developments in Punjab. “We are aware of the evolving situation in Punjab, and we are following it very closely,” she said in Canadian Parliament. “We look forward to a return to a more stable situation.”
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.