India's External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, criticized Canada for providing a platform to separatists and extremist elements, following the emergence of a video on social media depicting a float in Brampton, Canada that celebrated the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Expressing concern over the impact on bilateral relations, Jaishankar emphasized that Canada's tolerance of anti-India elements operating within its borders is detrimental to both countries.
"I think there is a bigger issue involved. And the bigger issue involved really is the space that Canada has continuously and frankly we are at a loss to understand other than the requirements of vote bank politics, why anybody would do this," Jaishankar stated during a media briefing.
Highlighting the need for Canada to learn from history, Jaishankar raised questions about the repeated provision of space to separatists, extremists, and advocates of violence. He stressed that such actions are not conducive to fostering healthy relationships and are ultimately harmful to Canada itself.
The video in question featured a float depicting the assassination of Indira Gandhi and is believed to be associated with a parade organized by Khalistani elements in Brampton. The Canadian High Commissioner in India, Cameron MacKay, took to Twitter to condemn the event and reaffirm Canada's stance against hate and the glorification of violence.
"I am appalled by reports of an event in Canada that celebrated the assassination of late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There is no place in Canada for hate or for the glorification of violence. I categorically condemn these activities," MacKay tweeted.
I am appalled by reports of an event in Canada that celebrated the assassination of late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There is no place in Canada for hate or for the glorification of violence. I categorically condemn these activities.— Cameron MacKay (@HCCanInd) June 7, 2023
The incident has also shed light on challenges faced by Indian students in Canada, with allegations surfacing that some students misrepresented their enrollment in colleges. Jaishankar assured that India has raised this issue with Canadian authorities, advocating for fairness in addressing the matter and urging against unjustly penalizing students who pursued education in good faith.
According to the reports by Hindustan Times, The Congress party in India joined in the condemnation, with senior leader Jairam Ramesh describing the depiction of Indira Gandhi's assassination as "despicable." Ramesh urged Jaishankar to strongly address the issue with Canadian authorities. Congress' Milind Deora emphasized the importance of respecting a nation's history and the pain caused by the Prime Minister's assassination, calling for universal condemnation and a united response against such extremism.
The parade, allegedly organized by Khalistani supporters, occurred on June 4, just days ahead of the upcoming 39th anniversary of 'Operation Blue Star' on June 6. As India's High Commission in Ottawa formally expressed its displeasure to the Canadian government, discussions surrounding the incident have highlighted the need for stronger action to prevent the toleration of extremist elements within Canada.
(With PTI Inputs)