Hate Crimes: MEA issues cautionary advisory for Indians in Canada


In wake of the spike in hate crimes, the Government of India issued a cautionary advisory for Indian nationals who are in Canada or those who plan to go to Canada. The Ministry of External Affairs has warned Indians in Canada to “exercise caution and remain vigilant”.

But there is more than meets the eye about this advisory. This travel advisory was issued against the backdrop of a diplomatic row between India and Canada. The ties between the two countries can at best be described as “frosty” at present. The bone of contention is the recent so-called referendum by “pro-Khalistan” supporters.

The advisory was issued a day after India registered a strong objection to the Khalistan referendum held in Ontario by a pro-Khalistani group Sikhs For Justice.

The travel advisory came a day after India objected strongly to a Khalistan referendum held in Ontario by the pro-Khalistani group, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). Arindam Bagchi, the MEA spokesperson, termed the Khalistan referendum in Canada as a farcical exercise. “The farcical exercise was held by the extremists and radical elements supporting the so-called Khalistan referendum in Canada and elsewhere. The matter has been taken up with the Canadian authorities through diplomatic channels. The government of Canada has reiterated that they respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and that they will not recognize the so-called referendum, which is taking place in Canada. However, we find it deeply objectionable that politically motivated exercises by extremist elements are allowed to take place in a friendly country. You’re all aware of the history of violence in this regard. And the government of India will continue to press the government of Canada on this matter.”

The MEA travel advisory too minces no words: “There has been a sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence, and anti-India activities in Canada. The Ministry of External Affairs and our High Commission/Consulates General in Canada have taken up these incidents with the Canadian authorities and requested them to investigate the said crimes and take appropriate action. The perpetrators of these crimes have not been brought to justice so far in Canada.”

In view of the increasing incidents of crime as described above, Indian nationals and students from India in Canada and those proceeding to Canada on travel/education have been advised by the MEA to exercise due caution and remain vigilant.

“Indian nationals and students from India in Canada can also register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites or the MADAD portal madad.gov.in. Registration will enable the High Commission and Consulates General to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any requirement or emergency,” the advisory says.


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