This week started off with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation that there is a ‘potential link’ between Indian government agents and the killing of pro-Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, which mounted the already sour bilateral relations between New Delhi and Ottawa.
India outrightly refused the allegations by calling them ‘absurd and motivated’. A series of retaliatory actions followed after Trudeau’s claim, including the booting out of top officials of both countries from India and Canada.
As a recent tit-for-tat action, India released a travel warning for its citizens who are travelling to Canada asking them to exercise ‘utmost caution’ due to growing anti-India activities and hate crimes.
Although the United States reacted to the allegations saying White House is ‘deeply concerned’ after Trudeau’s claims, the closest allies of Canada, including the US, had earlier rejected its request to publicly condemn the killing of separatist leader Nijjar.
Punjabis settled in Canada will be hit by suspension of visa services: Majithia
Senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia on Thursday asked the Centre to review its decision to suspend visa services for Canadians, saying it will be a big blow to the families of Punjabis settled in that country.
India on Thursday announced temporarily suspending the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens in view of “security threats” faced by its high commission and consulates in Canada, amid an escalating diplomatic row over Ottawa’s allegations relating to the killing of a Khalistani separatist on Canadian soil.
The row erupted following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a Khalistani separatist in Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. India has rejected the charge as absurd.
As the diplomatic row between India and Canada escalated on Thursday, the government and the Opposition largely spoke in one voice in a rare show of bipartisan support for New Delhi’s stand. Akali Dal leaders, meanwhile, hoped for a quick resolution of the standoff as they argued that the deteriorating relations had left Punjabis in “a state of panic”.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and told him that both governments should find a solution as soon as possible. In the Lok Sabha, Congress MP from Punjab Ravneet Singh Bittu lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who triggered the standoff by alleging the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. Senior Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, too, questioned Canada’s propensity to “cater to a particular political lobby” in the country that, he said, has resulted in imperilling its relationship with India. He asked Canada to “take a deep breath and rethink what they’re doing” and also asked the government to work towards “arresting the deterioration in the relationship”.
Badal said the developments in the last two days had spread panic among Punjabis in Canada. His meeting with Shah came after the Ministry of External Affairs announced it was temporarily suspending visa services for Canadian citizens given the “security threats” faced by India’s High Commission and Consulates in Canada.
“Briefing the Home Minister in the former’s office during a meeting in Parliament, the SAD president informed Amit Shah that he was receiving distress calls from Punjabis in Canada worried about safe and smooth travel facilities to their homeland. He said similarly students were apprehensive about their future. There is a sense of panic and both governments should find a solution to this crisis as soon as possible,” the Akali Dal said in a statement.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a sharp reminder for media platforms on Thursday amid the ongoing India-Canada diplomatic crisis. The announcement came mere hours after India announced the temporary suspension of visas for Canadian citizens in view of “security threats” faced by its high commission and consulates in the other country.
“Television channels are advised to refrain from giving any platform to reports/references about and views/agenda of persons of such background including those against whom there are charges of serious crimes/terrorism and belonging to organizations which have been proscribed by law…” read an excerpt from the notice.
“It has come to the notice of this Ministry that a person in a foreign country against whom there are serious cases of crime including terrorism, belonging to an organization which has been proscribed by law in India was invited for a discussion on a television channel wherein the said person made several comments/remarks which were detrimental to thesovereignty/integrity of the country, security of India, friendly relations of India with a foreign state and also had the potential of disturbing public order in the country,” read an official communique.