MEA expresses concern over freedom of expression being misused by anti-India elements

India has condemned Khalistani posters that targeted Indian diplomats in Canada, saying that posters inciting violence against Indian diplomats and missions abroad are unacceptable.

Emphasizing that India condemns them in the strongest terms, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said, "The matter has been strongly taken up with the Canadian authorities both in New Delhi and in Ottawa. We have called on the government of Canada to take all steps to ensure the safety of our diplomats and security of our missions in Canada".

It was a matter of concern that freedom of expression was being misused by anti-India elements based in Canada and elsewhere, Bagchi said in reply to questions at the weekly media briefing.

"We have seen media reports about comments by PM Trudeau. The issue is not about freedom of expression but its misuse for advocating violence, propagating separatism and legitimising terrorism," he explained.

Noting that similar threats had also taken place in other countries like the US, Australia, and the UK, the MEA Spokesperson referred to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's comment that countries should not pander to vote-bank politics.

Canada had earlier assured India of the safety of its diplomats following the circulation of Khalistani posters which named Indian officials. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly had termed the “promotional material” circulating ahead of a Khalistan rally as “unacceptable”.

The statement by came after India has asked its partner countries such as Canada, the UK, and the US not to give space to “extremist Khalistani ideology” as it is “not good” for relations.

Replying to another question, Bagchi said that there was an arson attempt by extremist elements at the Indian consulate in San Francisco on July 2. It was quickly brought under control by the local authorities.

"We strongly condemns such attacks against Indian diplomatic premises abroad. We have taken up the matter with the US side," the MEA Spokesperson said, adding that US authorities had responded very promptly at very senior levels.