India issues alert to its citizens in Canada over ‘hate’ crimes

New Delhi, Sep 23 (EFE).- The Indian government issued a warning on Friday to its citizens residing in Canada, following an incident against the community related to separatist movements and described by New Delhi as a “hate” crime.

“Indian nationals and students from India in Canada and those proceeding to Canada for travel/education are advised to exercise due caution and remain vigilant,” said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

According to the Indian government, recently “there has been a sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities in Canada,” making it a matter of concern for the authorities.

This warning comes after several sites of the Hindu community in Canada were vandalized in recent weeks by alleged extremist groups with separatist sentiments regarding India.

A week ago, the Indian embassy in Canada condemned the attack on Shri Swaminarayan, a popular Hindu temple in Toronto, wich was desecrated with graffiti related to anti-Indian secessionist movement Khalistan.

Before this, a statue of Indian pacifist leader Mahatma Gandhi in the same city was also damaged with graffiti reading “rapist”, among other things.

Canada hosts a diaspora of some 5 million Indians, a large part of them of the Sikh religious minority, from which radical groups have emerged demanding an independent state of Khalistan, which would include the region of Punjab, divided between India and Pakistan during the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a press briefing Thursday that India finds it deeply objectionable that exercises politically motivated by extremist elements are allowed to take place in a friendly country, referring to Canada.

The foreign ministry and its representatives in Canada “have taken up these incidents with the Canadian authorities and requested them to investigate the said crimes and take appropriate action,” said the Indian statement Friday.

The authorities have also asked Indian citizens in Canada to register themselves at consular offices so they can contact them in case of “any requirement or emergency.” EFE


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