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IndiaDelhi summons Canadian envoy over pro-Khalistan slogans at Justin Trudeau's event

Delhi summons Canadian envoy over pro-Khalistan slogans at Justin Trudeau’s event


New Delhi: on Monday summoned Canadian Deputy High Commissioner Stewart Wheeler with regard to the raising of separatist slogans on ‘Khalistan' at an event, which was being personally addressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Political space being given to separatism

– Govt's deep concern & strong protest conveyed at disturbing actions being allowed unchecked…

– This illustrates once again political space being given in Canada to separatism. MEA statement

“The Government of India's deep concern and strong protest was conveyed at such disturbing actions being allowed to continue unchecked at the event,” said the MEA, adding the incident once again illustrated the political space given in Canada to separatism, extremism and violence.

“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,” said an MEA statement.

Overseas-backed separatism had once again reared its head when loud and persistent pro-Khalistan slogans were raised in Toronto at the Khalsa Day celebrations in the presence of PM Trudeau, as well as opposition leader Pierre Poilievre with both of them seemingly taking the disruptions in their stride.

While the speech of Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow was heard in silence, pro-Khalistan chants began when Trudeau was invited to take the stage. The slogans got louder when he began his speech but Trudeau apparently opted not to notice the disturbance at a smallish gathering. also showed the presence of Jagmeet Singh, the chief of Democratic Party, which competes for Sikh votes with Trudeau's Liberal Party.

The shouting of slogans during Trudeau's speech was to reoccur when opposition leader Poilievre took the podium. Observers said Khalsa Day was attended by several thousands of people on Sunday, turning it into one of the biggest gatherings in Toronto. Much louder cheers went up when to the delight of the gathering, Chow declared that henceforth the City Council will observe March 28 as “Khalsa Day” or Vaisakhi.

Trudeau stressed the importance of diversity and claimed Sikh and Canadian values were similar. “To the nearly 800,000 Canadians of Sikh heritage across this country, we will always be there to protect your rights and your freedoms, and we will always defend your community against hatred and discrimination,” he assured.

Against the backdrop of the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year, he assured the government would add more security at community centres and places of worship, including gurdwaras. “Your right to practice your religion freely, and without intimidation is exactly that. A fundamental right guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that we will always stand up and defend you for,” he observed.

The gatherings in Toronto on Sikh holy occasions have become controversial because of the interjection of the separatism element by a small minority. The annual parade down Lake Shore Boulevard in the past has been criticised for a couple of tasteless and crude floats, including the depiction of assassination of then PM Indira Gandhi. Indian-origin MP Chandra Arya is an exception among Canadian politicians who has frequently issued appeals for calm.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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