CANADA: Pro-Khalistan protesters in Canada took to the streets, staging protests outside Indian diplomatic missions in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, on Monday.
In Toronto, the demonstrators went to the extent of burning the Indian flag, as per several reports. They also symbolically targeted a cardboard figure representing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by striking it with shoes.
Outside the Indian High Commissioner's office in Ottawa, protesters waved flags displaying 'Khalistan.' Reportedly, one of the demonstrators expressed gratitude to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stating, "We want no stone left unturned to get to the bottom of this cowardly act."
In downtown Vancouver of Canada, approximately 75 people gathered outside the Consul General of India, chanting pro-Khalistani slogans and staging a demonstration with an Indian flag on the ground. Vancouver police closed a section of Howe Street in anticipation of the event, organized by the Khalistani outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ).
Meera Bains, a Sikh-Canadian journalist, shared a video of the protest, which featured a poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi garlanded with slippers. SFJ leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, banned by India in 2019, was also present and stated their goal was to "shut down every Indian Consulate in the world today because the Indian back face has come to the front face."
Diplomatic relations between India and Canada have reached a historic low, with tensions escalating over the murder of a Canadian Sikh separatist leader.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that Canadian intelligence agencies were investigating "credible" allegations linking Indian agents to the assassination of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Indian authorities, however, have dismissed these allegations as "absurd." In light of recent developments, Canada has issued an updated travel advisory to its citizens in India, urging them to "remain vigilant and exercise caution" due to calls for protests and negative sentiment towards Canada on social media.
It's worth noting that India had previously issued a similar advisory for Indian nationals and students residing in Canada. Furthermore, India has announced the suspension of all categories of visas, including e-visas, for Canadian nationals as a response to the escalating tensions.