The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday summoned the Canadian deputy high commissioner and conveyed its “strong protest” about pro-Khalistan slogans chanted at an event at which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke.

Khalistan refers to an independent Sikh state sought by some groups.

A day earlier, Trudeau had attended an event in Toronto to celebrate Khalsa Day, which commemorates the founding of the Sikh community in 1699 as well as the Sikh New Year, NDTV reported. Slogans of “Khalistan Zindabad” were shouted at the beginning as well as at the end of the Canadian prime minister’s address.

Opposition leaders Pierre Poilievre, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow were also present at the event.

On Monday, India’s foreign ministry said that it conveyed to the deputy high commissioner “its deep concern and strong protest” at “such disturbing actions being allowed to continue unchecked at the event” attended by Canadian leaders.

“This illustrates once again the political space that has been given in Canada to separatism, extremism and violence,” the ministry said. “Their continued expressions not only impact India-Canada relations but also encourage a climate of violence and criminality in Canada to the detriment of its own citizens.”

Diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Ottawa have been strained since September, when Trudeau told the country’s parliament that intelligence agencies were actively pursuing “credible allegations” linking agents of the Indian government in the assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar was gunned down near Vancouver by two masked men in June.

New Delhi rejected Canada’s allegations as “absurd and motivated”. The Indian government also described the claims as Ottawa’s attempt to shift focus from “Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.