Canada denounces float at Khalistan event depicting Indira Gandhi’s assassination | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Canada denounces float at Khalistan event depicting Indira Gandhi’s assassination

Jun 11, 2024 06:04 PM IST

Canadian envoy Cameron MacKay’s statement comes after 2 Canadian ministers condemned another float depicting Indira Gandhi’s assassination

NEW DELHI: Canadian high commissioner Cameron MacKay responded on Tuesday to the inclusion of a float depicting the 1984 assassination of former premier Indira Gandhi at an event in Brampton, saying the promotion of violence is “never acceptable” in Canada.

Float featuring the assassination of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in front of the Indian Consulate in Vancouver. (FILE IMAGE)
Float featuring the assassination of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in front of the Indian Consulate in Vancouver. (FILE IMAGE)

MacKay conveyed Canada’s position in a post on X days after two Canadian ministers condemned another float depicting the former Indian prime minister’s assassination as part of a protest by Khalistani activists in front of the Indian consulate in Vancouver.

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The external affairs ministry has not yet reacted to these latest protests featuring provocative floats though Indian high commissioner Sanjay Verma this week urged all levels of the Canadian government to take “exemplary action” against such public displays of violence and hatred.

“The Government of Canada is aware of further imagery displayed in Brampton on Sunday. Canada’s position is clear: The promotion of violence is never acceptable in Canada,” MacKay said in a post on X on Tuesday, referring to the float included in a parade in Brampton to mark the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, conducted by the Indian Army in 1984 to flush out Khalistani extremists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

India-Canada relations are currently at their lowest point in decades, having never recovered from the storm created by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation last September about the involvement of Indian government agents in the killing of Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023.

India, which declared Nijjar a terrorist in 2020, dismissed the accusation as absurd and officials have maintained that the Canadian side hasn’t shared any evidence to back up Trudeau’s allegation.

The Indian side has also been irked by the repeated inclusion of floats depicting Indira Gandhi’s assassination in events organised by pro-Khalistan elements in Canada since last year.

Last Thursday, such a float was part of a protest against Operation Bluestar by Khalistani activists in front of the Indian consulate in Vancouver. Two Canadian ministers – public safety minister Dominic LeBlanc and Anita Anand, president of the Treasury Board, denounced the violent imagery used in the float last week.

“This week, there were reports of imagery depicting the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Vancouver. The promotion of violence is never acceptable in Canada,” LeBlanc said in a post on X on June 8.

On the same day, Anand posted on X: “The use of violent imagery in relation to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is disturbing and unacceptable as it promotes and perpetuates hate and violence.”

Last month, external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said New Delhi has repeatedly raised its strong concerns about the violent imagery used by extremist elements in Canada against India’s political leadership. The Indian side also has concerns about posters put up by Khalistani elements featuring images of Indian diplomats and threatening violence against them.

“Democratic countries which respect the rule of law should not allow intimidation by radical elements in the name of freedom of expression,” Jaiswal said, adding that the Canadian government should stop “providing criminal and secessionist elements a safe haven and political space”.

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