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Indian diplomats ‘threatened, intimidated’ in Canada: Jaishankar

Arafat Rahman

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has alleged that Indian diplomats were “threatened and intimidated” in Canada. He also said that India wants those involved in the attack on the Indian High Commission in London and the Indian Consulate in San Francisco to be punished.

Canada’s relationship with New Delhi soured last year after it accused India of shooting dead pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is back on the subject.

NDTV reported this information in a report on Tuesday (February 27) citing the Indian news agency PTI.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Monday that India expects action against those involved in the attacks on the High Commission in London and the consulate in San Francisco last year, and those involved in threatening Indian diplomats in Canada.

He claimed that India had to suspend the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens because Indian diplomats were repeatedly “threatened and intimidated in various ways” and we “received very little relief from Canada at that time”.

Relations between India and Canada became seriously heated after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that agents of the Indian government were involved in the killing of Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijja in Canada in June last year.

Though Nijjar is a ‘terrorist’ in the eyes of New Delhi, India dismisses the allegation of involvement in his murder as ‘absurd’. In this situation, India suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens in the third week of September last year.

However, a few weeks later, New Delhi started issuing visas to Canadian citizens again.

“We hope the perpetrators of the attack on our consulate in San Francisco will be brought to book, we also hope action will be taken against those who attacked our High Commission in London and those who threatened our diplomats (in Canada),” Jaishankar said at a conference organized by an Indian TV network on Monday. We expect to take action against.

On March 19 last year, the Indian High Commission in London was attacked by Khalistanists. And in July there was an arson attempt at the Indian consulate in San Francisco. And in September of the same year, Indian diplomats were threatened in Canada.

Jaishankar claimed, “We had to suspend issuing visas to Canada because our diplomats were not able to work safely. Our diplomats were repeatedly threatened. They were intimidated in many ways and we had very little comfort from the Canadian system at that time.’

This foreign minister of India also said that our ambassadors were being threatened. Their lives were at risk. So we were forced to stop issuing visas to Canadian citizens. Now, however, the visa issuance system has become almost normal.

He claimed that diplomats cannot be intimidated in the name of freedom of speech. I think this is an abuse of freedom of speech. High commissioners are being attacked. They are not being given any security. Indian flag being lowered. My question is, can this be called freedom of speech? A similar attack took place in America. The incident is under investigation in that country. If Canada does not take action, that too should be taken as a message.

However, Jaishankar said that the situation has improved since then. However, he claimed, the culprits involved in such attacks must be brought under the law.

“In the UK, we’ve actually seen our High Commission get mobbed and really not get the kind of security we’d hoped for,” he said. The situation has improved in the UK. We are seeing a very strong response today in Australia and the US.’

Incidentally, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly accused the Indian government of the killing of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijja last year. Standing in Parliament at that time, he said that Canadian intelligence agencies have found credible evidence of Indian government’s involvement in the killing of Sikh leader Nijjar.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead on June 18 last year outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia, Canada. In a House of Commons meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau said there are credible reasons to believe that Indian agents may be involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader on Canadian soil.

India, however, has long expressed concern over the political activities of the Sikh community in Canada. Besides, India declared Nijjar as a ‘terrorist’ in 2020 and New Delhi dismissed Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations of involvement in Nijjar’s killing as ‘absurd’.

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