Sikh Canadians protest against India’s alleged involvement in killing of Sikh activist
Several people gathered in Toronto but also in Ottawa and Vancouver to denounce Modi’s government
Demonstrators gather in support of Khalistan, an advocated independent Sikh homeland, during a Sikh rally outside the Consulate General of India, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on September 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar (Photo by COLE BURSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Hundreds of Sikh protesters gathered outside Indian diplomatic missions in Canada on Monday (25), demonstrating against the alleged involvement of India in the killing of a prominent Sikh activist. The protesters trampled pictures of prime minister Narendra Modi and burned flags.
“We are not safe back home in Punjab, we are not safe in Canada,” said Joe Hotha, a member of the Sikh community in Toronto, referring to the murder in June of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar near Vancouver.
Last Monday, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau told parliament that New Delhi was possibly involved in the assassination of the Sikh leader, triggering a major diplomatic crisis between the two nations.
“Now our prime minister tells everything in the parliament, so there is no excuse,” said another Sikh protester, Harpar Gosal of Toronto.
“The Indians, they are terrorists, they killed our brother in Vancouver, so that’s why we are protesting here,” said the Canadian outside of the Indian consulate.
Like other protesters, he carried the yellow flag of Khalistan — an independent state that some Sikhs hope to create in the Indian region of Punjab.
Several hundred people gathered in Toronto but also in Ottawa and Vancouver to denounce Modi’s government.
Canada is home to the largest Sikh community in the world outside of India, with 770,000 Canadians professing Sikhism in 2021, or two per cent of the country’s population.
The Indian government called the Canadian accusations “absurd” and vehemently denied them.
It also advised its nationals not to travel to certain Canadian regions “given the increase in anti-Indian activities” and temporarily stopped processing visa applications in Canada.
Since then, diplomatic relations between the two countries have been at their lowest point, marked by reciprocal expulsions of diplomats while Trudeau has repeatedly called on the Indian authorities to cooperate in the investigation.