SFJ protests grip Indian missions in Canada

The Asian Age With Agency Inputs

World, Americas

According to Canadian TV channel CTV News, the protesters burned the Indian flag and shouted slogans against India

Demonstrators burn a placard depicting Indian prime minister Narendra Modi during a Sikh rally outside the Consulate General of India, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on September 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. (AFP)

New Delhi: Under heavy security around Indian Consulates in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ontario, elements of Sikh For Justice held protests against the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. As a preemptive measure, the police around the Consulates had blocked the road, due to which the protesters had to keep off the main roads. Security was also beefed up around the Consulates ahead of the call for protests. According to Canadian TV channel CTV News, the protesters burned the Indian flag and shouted slogans against India.

The premier of Canada’s British Columbia province, where Nijjar was killed, has said he was not taken into the loop on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s explosive allegations against India and came to know about them only one hour before they came into the public domain. He said he wants the federal government to share security intelligence with the provinces.

“There’s a critical need for provinces to be brought into the loop at an earlier stage,” CTV News quoted David Eby as saying. “The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), for example, by law is required to only share their intelligence with the federal government. It means that when they brief me — which they did that day — they can share basically what’s in the public domain already, which is not helpful. I can read the newspaper, too,” he said.

Following Trudeau’s allegations, Mr Eby said he was deeply disturbed and angered by this information.

On Monday, Trudeau met with Eby. According to  Trudeau’s office, during which, among other things, the two leaders discussed public safety.

According to the Washington Times, members of the local Sikh community said authorities have told them little about their investigation of the June 18 killing outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey. They said police were slow to the scene, and disagreement between agencies caused further delay. Several business owners and residents near the Gurdwara said investigators have not visited to ask questions or request security video.

The United States has said Canada’s investigation into the murder of Nijjar must proceed and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. “We are deeply concerned by the allegations referenced by the Canadian Prime Minister. We remain in close contact with our Canadian partners,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at his daily news conference.

“We believe it’s critical that Canada’s investigation proceeds and that the perpetrators be brought to justice. And we have publicly and privately urged the Indian government to cooperate in the Canadian investigation,” Mr Miller said in response to a question.

On the India-Canada row, Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Ali Sabry backed India, saying, “Some of the terrorists have found a haven in Canada. The Canadian Prime Minister has this way of just coming out with some outrageous allegations without any supporting proof. The same thing they did for Sri Lanka was a terrible, total lie about saying that Sri Lanka had committed genocide. Everybody knows there was no genocide in our country. I saw yesterday that he had gone and given a rousing welcome to somebody who had been associated with the Nazis in the past during the Second World War. So this is questionable, and we have dealt with it in the past. I am not surprised that sometimes Trudeau comes out with outrageous and substantiated allegations.”

Meanwhile, in Geneva, Baloch activists questioned the Canadian government's alleged inaction on the mysterious death of political activist Karima Baloch in Toronto in 2020. Baloch Voice Association president Munir Mengal said, “Karima Baloch was a Baloch student, human rights activist, and political activist, she came to Canada to save her life from Pakistani forces. Unfortunately, her body was found mysteriously in a lake. We organised a protest in Paris outside the Canadian Embassy. We submitted a document for an answer... Approximately 3 years have passed, and we have received no information from the Canadian authorities.”