Khalistan supporters hold protest outside Indian Consulate in Vancouver

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Ottawa [Canada]: Dozens of Khalistan supporters outside the Indian Consulate in Vancouver held a protest against the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar amid Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations that the Indian government was behind his slaying.

Protesters waved Khalistan flags, played music and shouted slogans. Some of them burnt India’s flag in a garbage can outside the Indian Consulate. Similar protests were held in Toronto as well.

Protesters called Nijjar’s killing an “assassination” and called for a public inquiry into the case, Canada-based CTV News reported. The protest was one of several planned by Khalistan supporters in cities across Canada.

The World Sikh Organization in advance issued a warning of the possibility of “incitement and interference” and called for vigilance, CTV News reported.

In a statement, World Sikh Organization president Tejinder Singh Sidhu called for finding the killers of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

He further said, “If members of the community feel unsafe or see attempts to incite violence, we encourage them to immediately contact law enforcement,” CTV News reported.

Earlier, the Vancouver Police Department closed the road around the Indian Consulate in Vancouver ahead of a protest planned by Khalistan supporters. Barriers were placed blocking the entrance to the Indian Consulate in Vancouver’s building on Howe Street, CTV News reported.

In a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, Vancouver Police stated, “#VanTraffic: Howe Street is closed to vehicle traffic between W Cordova and W Hastings Street. Please plan an alternate route until further notice.”

Later in the day, Vancouver Police in a post shared on X stated, “Howe Street is now open to all vehicle traffic.”

Ties between India and Canada have been strained after Justin Trudeau on September 18 alleged India’s involvement in the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Nijjar, who was a designated terrorist in India, was killed outside a Gurdwara in Canada’s Surrey, British Columbia on June 18. India, however, rejected the allegations, terming them “absurd” and “motivated”.

“We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

“Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” the MEA added in its statement.

India also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a reciprocal move to Canada expelling a senior Indian diplomat in light of the claim of New Delhi’s involvement in the killing of Nijjar.

On Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the allegations made by Canada regarding the “potential links” of India behind the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar are “politically driven”.

“Yes, I do think there is a degree of prejudice here. They have made allegations and taken action against them. To us, it seems that these allegations by the government of Canada are primarily politically driven,” Bagchi said while addressing a weekly presser.

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