Last Updated: September 26, 2023, 08:47 IST
A rally called by pro-Khalistani protesters outside the Indian Consulate in Vancouver failed on Monday with barely 25 people showing up for the demonstration, sources in Canada told News18.
The rally had been called for 12 noon on Monday outside the consulate to protest against India over the murder of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s has alleged “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of 45-year-old Nijjar on June 18 in British Columbia. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. New Delhi angrily rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case.
Around 20-25 people had gathered outside the Indian consulate, sources said, adding that they waved Canadian flags alongside Khalistan ones. Many attendees held placards thanking Justin Trudeau for “standing with Sikhs”, sources added.
Pro-Khalistani groups in Canada have demanded that Indian High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma be expelled over Nijjar’s killing.
Sources said mediapersons and police personnel outnumbered protesters at the rally. While the official press release said around 100 protesters attended the demonstration, eyewitnesses put the attendance at less than 25.
Canada on Monday updated its travel advisory for its citizens in India asking them to “stay vigilant and exercise caution” in the context of recent developments as there are calls for protests and some “negative sentiment” towards Canada on social media.
This comes after New Delhi issued a similar advisory for Indian nationals and students living in Canada and halted visa services late last week, Global News reported.
India last week also announced temporarily suspending issuance of visas to Canadian citizens in view of “security threats” faced by its high commission and consulates.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said the decision includes Canadian visa applicants in third countries even as he asserted Canada must act against the pro-Khalistani elements operating from its territory.
The India-Canada ties were reeling under some strain for the last few months in view of increasing activities of the pro-Khalistani elements in the North American country. India believes the Trudeau government is not addressing its genuine concerns.