MEA reaffirms Indian government's demand for Canada to stop providing a safe haven for criminal and secessionist elements
Condemning the violent imagery displayed during a recent Nagar Kirtan parade in Malton, Canada in strong terms, India has said that glorification of violence cannot be part of a civilised society.
According to media reports, the parade included floats targeting Indian political figures and depicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We have repeatedly raised our strong concerns regarding the violent imagery being used by extremist elements in Canada against our political leadership,” MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in response to media queries on the matter on Tuesday (May 7, 2024).
He pointed out that last year, a float depicting the assassination of a former Indian Prime Minister was used in a procession. Display of posters of Indian diplomats have also been put out across Canada threatening violence against them, Jaiswal added.
Jaiswal emphasized that the glorification of violence has no place in a civilized society; he also condemned radical elements being allowed to intimidate in the name of freedom of expression.
“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 stated.
At the same time, he reiterated India's ongoing concern over the safety of its diplomatic representatives in Canada and called upon the Canadian government to ensure their protection. “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 stated.
Jaiswal’s statement reaffirmed the Indian government's demand for Canada to stop providing a safe haven for criminal and secessionist elements. “We again call upon the Government of Canada to stop providing criminal and secessionist elements a safe haven and political space in Canada,” he said.
India’s discontent with Canada has grown over the past year due to repeated incidents involving pro-Khalistan groups. Last year, a float in a similar parade glorified the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The recent event showcased aggressive speeches by individuals known for their pro-Khalistan stance. Inflammatory rhetoric against Indian leadership and calls for violence against Indian diplomats further added to the controversy.
The issue of pro-Khalistan movements in Canada has been a sore point between the two nations. Tensions escalated in September 2023 when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged potential involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India vehemently rejected the allegations as "absurd," and relations between the two countries have been tense since then.
Recently, Prime Minister Trudeau attended a Khalsa Day celebration event where pro-Khalistan slogans were chanted. This prompted India to lodge a formal protest by summoning the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner and voicing its concerns over the rising political space afforded to extremist ideologies.