regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 November 2023

Set up helpline for Indian students, NRIs in Canada, Punjab BJP chief urges EAM

'A WhatsApp number can be released for Indian students planning to go abroad to get in touch with authorities in case of need and guidance'

PTI Chandigarh Published 23.09.23, 10:37 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar on Saturday urged External Affairs minister S Jaishankar for setting up a helpline for Indian students and NRIs in Canada amid a diplomatic row between the two countries.

In his letter to the Union Minister, Jakhar while highlighting the concerns of citizens residing in Canada, urged him to release a detailed statement listing out the measures being taken by the Centre for the safety of the country's citizens in Canada until the eventual resolution of this issue. "This, I am sure, would go a long way in assuaging the sense of deep anxiety, panic and indecision prevailing amongst our people living in Canada and especially in students waiting to go abroad for studies. An assurance from your office would certainly lay to rest the doubts and insecurity of our students who are rightfully concerned about their study plans," Jakhar wrote in the letter.


He suggested issuing a WhatsApp contact number for Indian students planning to go abroad to get in touch with authorities in case they need any information or guidance. “I would also request you to institute a dedicated helpline number on which our NRIs and students can contact and seek help from Indian Consulates. A WhatsApp number can be released for Indian students planning to go abroad to get in touch with authorities in case of need and guidance," Jakhar wrote in his letter.

“In the wake of unsubstantiated allegations against the Indian Government by the Canadian Prime Minister; the diplomatic relationship between the two countries has understandably been on a downward spiral. PM Justin Trudeau has made these absurd and malicious charges only to cater to his domestic political compulsions," the Punjab BJP chief said.

"The government of India has taken the right stand by strongly countering PM Trudeau's outburst and has asked for evidence, which does not seem forthcoming,” he added.

“While I hope that PM Trudeau realises his folly at the earliest and the matter is resolved in an amicable manner, it is our citizens, a big chunk of them Punjabis, who are likely to be impacted by the current impasse, including the suspension of visas by the Indian Government to keep a security check on entry into India," the letter read.

He said that most of the NRIs settled in Canada visit their relatives in India during this time at the onset of winter there, adding that they are "genuinely anxious about the unfolding situation.” India on Thursday announced temporarily suspending issuance of visas to Canadian citizens in view of "security threats" faced by its high commission and consulates in Canada, amid an escalating diplomatic row over Ottawa's allegations relating to the killing of a Khalistani separatist on Canadian soil.The row erupted following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations of a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a Khalistani separatist in Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. India has rejected the charge as "absurd". PTI CHS VSD RPAExcept for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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