‘Glorification of violence’: India slams Canada over Khalistani ‘float’ in parade

New Delhi, May 7 (PTI) India Tuesday hit out at Canada for providing “safe haven” and political space to “secessionist” elements, in a sharp reaction to pro-Khalistan elements displaying an effigy of the Indian prime minister in an offensive manner at a parade in Ontario’s Malton area.

India also accused Canada of allowing “celebration and glorification” of violence, expressing concerns over the security of Indian diplomats in that country, and said it expects Ottawa to ensure that they are able to carry out their responsibilities without fear.

India’s strong reaction came two days after the ‘Nagar Kirtan’ parade in Malton displayed a “float” that contained an effigy of the Indian prime minister reportedly within a cage.

“We again call upon the Government of Canada to stop providing criminal and secessionist elements a safe haven and political space in Canada,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.

Jaiswal also recalled how float during a parade in June last year depicted the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

“As you are aware, we have repeatedly raised our strong concerns regarding the violent imagery being used by extremist elements in Canada against our political leadership. Last year, a float depicting the assassination of our former prime minister was used in a procession,” he said.

Jaiswal said display of posters of Indian diplomats have also been put out across Canada threatening violence against them.

“Celebration and glorification of violence should not be a part of any civilized society. Democratic countries which respect the rule of law should not allow intimidation by radical elements in the name of freedom of expression,” he said.

“We continue to remain concerned about the security of our diplomatic representatives in Canada and expect the Government of Canada to ensure that they are able to carry out their responsibilities without fear,” he said.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in September last year of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

New Delhi rejected Trudeau’s charges as “absurd”.

Last week, Canadian authorities charged three Indian nationals with the murder of Nijjar. It is reported that they entered Canada on student visas.

Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22, and Karanpreet Singh, 28, all Indian nationals residing in Edmonton, were charged on Friday with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Days after Trudeau’s allegations in September, India asked Ottawa to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country to ensure parity. Subsequently, Canada withdrew 41 diplomats and their family members from India.

India has been asserting that its “core issue” with Canada remained that of the space given to separatists, terrorists and anti-India elements in that country.

Following Trudeau’s allegations last year, India temporarily suspended issuance of visas to Canadian citizens. The visa services were resumed several weeks later.

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