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Calling for a ‘shutdown’ of Indian consular offices in Canada, a pro-Khalistani outfit has said it will hold peaceful protests beginning next week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused New Delhi of involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Nijjar, who was spearheading the Khalistani referendum in Canada, was gunned down in the parking lot of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey city of British Columbia after evening prayers on June 18 this year.
The Sikhs for Justice, which is outlawed in India, said protests are slated to take place outside Indian consulates in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver on September 25, the Vancouver-based Global News reported.
“We will not allow the Indian consulates to function and we’re going to push the Canadian government to name the individuals who are responsible for assassinating and giving the orders to hit Nijjar,” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, SFJ’s legal counsel, told Global News.
“He has been assassinated outside the gurdwara — that was being done to give a very strong message to pro-Khalistan Sikhs that they will be hunted, even in the Western world,” Pannun said.
The SFJ told the news channel that it will also be calling for the expulsion of Indian High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Verma.
Canada on Monday expelled senior Indian diplomat Pavan Kumar Rai after Trudeau’s claims of “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the killing of Nijjar.
While foreign minister Melanie Joly didn’t name the diplomat, her office subsequently identified him as the RAW station chief in Canada.
Calling Trudeau’s revelation “unprecedented”, Jaskaran Sandhu, a board member with the World Sikh Organisation of Canada, was quoted as saying in Global News that he won’t be surprised if protests take place outside consulates before September 25 as well,
“People are livid right now. This is a news story that obviously has shaken the whole country. It’s also a news story that has shaken the community to a certain extent,” he said in an interview.
Trudeau, who was snubbed in India during his recent visit, said any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”.
Despite New Delhi registering strong protests, an anti-India campaign has continued in Canada with pro-Khalistani graffiti and posters targeting Indian diplomats and temples across the country.
Incidents of Khalistani elements protesting outside the Indian consulate in Toronto displaying “Kill India” posters, had led to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar saying that Canada was apparently allowing these protests driven by votebank politics.
Meanwhile, the second referendum to weigh support for Khalistan will be held in Canada on October 29.
It will also be asking voters now whether the Indian high commissioner was responsible for Nijjar’s death.
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