Khalistan supporters in Canada reaches new low; Canadian MP Chandra slams float of Indira Gandhi assassination

Canada. Image Credit: Screenshot grab from Twitter videos

Toronto/New Delhi/IBNS: Taking a swipe at the Canada government led by his own Liberal party, Canadian MP Chandra Arya has slammed the Khalistanis over former Indian Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi’s assassination float that has triggered a new outrage from Indians.

Taking to Twitter, Arya said, “Khalistan supporters in Canada have reached (a) new low with a despicable float in a recent Brampton parade. The float celebrated the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with her cutout in white saree soaked in blood and cutouts of her bodyguard turned killers brandishing and pointing guns.

“This is not what our country Canada stands for. Tolerating glorification of violence and public promotion of hate goes against everything our country believes in. Khalistan supporters have crossed a line and Canada should and must respond,” he said adding that he had always flagged the anti-India and anti-Hindu actions. 

The float was reportedly part of a parade that was organised by some Khalistani elements in Brampton.

India on Thursday slammed Canada for going lenient on extremists and separatists after a video emerged on social media of a float that allegedly celebrated the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the Canadian city of Brampton.

In a press briefing, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Canada giving space to extremists and separatists on its soil is neither good for its bilateral ties with India nor for its own wellbeing.

“I think there is a bigger issue involved. And the bigger issue involved really is the space that Canada has continuously and frankly… we are at a loss to understand other than the requirements of vote bank politics, why anybody would do this,” Jaishankar said.

“Because if you look at their history, you would imagine that they learn from history and they would not like to repeat that history. It is not only one incident, however egregious it may be,” he added.

Khalistan Cauldron

While the demand for Khalistan is a non-issue in India, Khalistani extremists, backed by Pakistan, have a free run in Canada since the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. Canada has second highest concentration of Sikhs outside India with nearly 800,000 adherents  accounting for 2.1% of Canada’s population as of 2021.

Indira Gandhi was assassinated on Oct 31, 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards to avenge the military action at the Golden Temple in Amritsar as part of Operation Blue Star to flush out Damdami Taksal leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers from the holiest site of Sikhism. Her killing triggered India-wide anti-Sikh riots. 

On 23 June 1985, the shocking mid-air bombing of an Air India flight in 1985 was the handiwork of Canada-based extremist outfit Babbar Khalsa to avenge the anti-Sikh riots and Golden Temple operation. The bombing had killed 329 people aboard, including 268 Canadian citizens, 27 British citizens, and 24 Indian citizens. 

However despite diplomatic pressures and souring of relations, Canada has been soft-peddling the Khalistan issue largely because of domestic vote bank politics.

The Khalistani flags are ubiquitous in areas like Brampton in Greater Toronto while many religious places of the Sikh community have glorified pictures of extremists behind acts of anti-India terrorism.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in May 2017 had attended an event of nagar kirtan in Toronto with Khalistani flags, inviting the concern of the Indian government over the presence of the PM in such a gathering, sending the signal that it condones the anti-India forces’ action. 

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