Pro-Khalistan protests were held outside the Indian High Commission in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto and Vancouver on Monday, a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged an Indian government hand in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Holding Canada flags and the yellow Khalistan flags, the protesters shouted anti-India slogans and tore up the Indian Tricolour in one of the venues. In another protest, some of the protesters could be seen hitting a cut-out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with shoes. They also held up posters that said “India is responsible for terrorism in Canada”.
According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) report, there were around 70 people in each of the three protest sites and they were very organised. “Waving Canada and Khalistan flags and holding signs denouncing the Indian government and foreign interference, the Vancouver demonstration was staged atop a large flag of India placed on the wet ground,’’ CBC reported.
In a related development, US Congressman Eric Swalwell announced that he would seek to learn more about Trudeau’s allegations through the Committee on Homeland Security. A Democrat, he represents the 14th district of California — a state where half of the Sikhs in the US live.
“As a member of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, I stand with the Sikh community against hate & political violence. Sikhs deserve to live in peace in America & worldwide, free from political persecution. I’m concerned by reports that India’s government is targeting Sikh activists abroad & will seek to learn more as a member of the Committee on Homeland Security. I will work with local & federal government officials to ensure necessary actions are undertaken to protect the Sikh community,’’ Swalwell posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday.
Swalwell was responding to an article in The Intercept — a news portal — that following Nijjar’s killing outside a gurdwara in British Columbia, Canada, in June, the FBI had warned Sikh activists in California that their lives could also be in danger.
Swalwell is the second US Congressman to announce plans to use the congressional committee system to get more information on this front, Jim Costa — a Democrat who represents the 21st district of California — being the other. “I am very concerned about reports that Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Niijar was assassinated, and I have requested an official briefing as a member of the House Foreign Affairs committee. We must fully investigate this crime to determine who should be held accountable,’’ Costa posted on Monday.