India’s foreign ministry says it is concerned for safety of its citizens in Canada because of ‘politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence’.
India’s foreign ministry has issued a travel advisory expressing concern for the safety of its citizens in Canada, citing “politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence.” This move comes amid escalating diplomatic tensions between the two nations over allegations that India was involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, earlier this year.
The controversy began when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged India to take the investigation into Nijjar’s shooting death seriously. The allegations triggered a series of diplomatic expulsions and a firm denial from India, which dismissed any suggestion of its involvement in Nijjar’s killing as “absurd.”
While not explicitly mentioning the ongoing diplomatic dispute, India’s foreign ministry expressed concerns regarding the safety of its citizens residing in or visiting Canada. The statement indicated that threats had specifically targeted Indian diplomats and members of the Indian community who oppose anti-India agendas.
The advisory cautioned Indian nationals to avoid traveling to regions and venues in Canada where incidents of politically motivated violence and hate crimes have been reported.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc responded to the travel advisory, assuring that Canada remains a safe country. However, the advisory adds a layer of complexity to the already strained relations between the two nations.
The tragic killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar took place when two masked assailants shot him outside a Sikh place of worship in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver in the western province of British Columbia. Nijjar was a proponent of establishing Khalistan, an independent Sikh homeland, in India’s northern state of Punjab, which shares a border with Pakistan and is historically significant to the Sikh religion.
In 2020, the Indian government designated Nijjar as a “terrorist” and sought his arrest on charges of conspiring to commit murder. Nijjar, however, denied these allegations, as reported by the World Sikh Organization of Canada.
The diplomatic standoff has also drawn attention to India’s accusations that Canada is overlooking the activities of hardline Sikh nationalists advocating for the creation of Khalistan. The situation remains tense, with both countries closely monitoring developments in this complex and sensitive diplomatic dispute.