India summons Canadian envoy ahead of Sikh separatists’ rally in Toronto

New Delhi, Jul 4 (EFE).- The Indian government summoned the Canadian ambassador in New Delhi to seek explanations for a scheduled rally by Sikh separatists in the city of Toronto on Jul.8.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday conveyed its concerns to Cameron MacKay over threats to its diplomats in posters related to the pro-Khalistan protest in Canada, local news agency ANI reported Tuesday.

The Sikh separatist movement seeks to establish an independent state called Khalistan (Land of the Pure) in the Punjab region.

On Tuesday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said her country was “seriously” committed to the safety of foreign diplomats.

“Canada remains in close contact with Indiana officials in light of some of the promotional materials circulating online regarding a protest planned for July 8th, which are unacceptable,” she tweeted.

On Monday in a press conference, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that India has requested Canada, the United Kingdom, United States and Australia not to give space to the Khalistanis.

“These radical extremist ideologies aren’t good for us, them, or our ties. Will raise the issue of these protesters,” he said.

Pro-Khalistan supporters on Saturday allegedly attacked and attempted to set fire to the Indian consulate in San Francisco.

The US State Department on Tuesday condemned the alleged attack and attempted arson on the diplomatic mission.

India has for years denounced overseas support to the pro-Khalistan movement in Canada, which is home to a large Indian diaspora, particularly from Punjab.

Between 1981 and 1995, a violent armed uprising by the radical Sikhs had killed 25,000 people in the Sikh-majority state of Punjab.

The crisis in Punjab reached its peak in June 1984, when the Indian Army had clashed with hundreds of armed pro-independent fighters at the sacred Golden Temple that left more than 500 dead.

A few months later, two Sikh bodyguards assassinated India’s then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, unleashing a wave of violence against the minority group in New Delhi in which nearly 2,800 people were killed. EFE


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