Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau denies India’s accusation of turning a blind eye to pro-Khalistan activists

Khalistan. File image by Wallpaper Cave

Ottawa/IBNS: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said that Canada has always taken “serious action” against terrorism, rebutting criticisms that his government has been lax on pro-Khalistan activists within the country.

His remarks came after India on Monday summoned the Canadian ambassador in New Delhi, expressing concern over escalating activities by pro-Khalistan elements in Canada.

This diplomatic move by India also comes two days before a scheduled pro-Khalistan rally outside the Indian High Commission in Ottawa on July 8.

“They are wrong. Canada has always taken extremely seriously violence and threats of violence. We have always taken serious action against terrorism, and we always will,” Trudeau stated at a press conference, rejecting India‚Äôs criticism that his government is soft on Khalistan supporters and terrorists, reported media.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks were made in response to questions about a controversial parade float that took place in the Greater Toronto Area last month.

The float, organized by Khalistan supporters to commemorate the 39th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, featured a tableau depicting the assassinated former prime minister Indira Gandhi with blood-stained clothes and a poster stating, “Revenge of the attack on Shri Darbar Sahib.”

The presence of such imagery raised concerns and sparked discussions about the activities of pro-Khalistan groups in Canada.

“We have an extremely diverse country and freedom of expression is something that we value, but we will always make sure that we are pushing back against violence and extremism in all its forms,” Trudeau affirmed.

According to reports, India has made a request to Canadian authorities to take appropriate measures in the light of the planned protests by pro-Khalistan groups outside Indian missions in Canada on July 8.

In response to these concerns, Canada has reassured India of the safety of its diplomats. This assurance comes after Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called upon partner countries, including Canada, the UK and the US, to resist providing platforms to “extremist Khalistani ideology,” arguing that it’s detrimental to international relations.

On Monday, Jaishankar expressed concern over Khalistani posters in Canada targeting Indian diplomats and condemned the “radical, extremist Khalistani ideology.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly echoed  Trudeau’s commitment to the Vienna Conventions regarding diplomat safety.

She termed the “promotional material” circulating in the lead-up to the Khalistan rally as “unacceptable” and emphasized that the actions of a few individuals “do not speak for an entire community or Canada”.