Amid the ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada, Khalistani supporters held demonstrations outside the Indian consulate in Vancouver over the killing of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, waving Khalistan flags and shouting slogans.
Some of the Khalistani protesters burned India's national flag in a garbage can outside the Indian Consulate. They termed Nijjar's killing as an "assassination" and demanded a public inquiry in the case, as per local reports. Similar protests have been planned and held in different parts of Canada, including Toronto.
Meanwhile, the World Sikh Organization issued a warning of the possibility of "incitement and interference" and urged people to contact law enforcement in case they feel unsafe or witness attempts to incite violence.
Ahead of the protest, the Vancouver Police Department closed the road around the Indian Consulate and barriers were placed blocking the entrance to the building on Howe Street, before reopening the street for vehicular movement.
India-Canada diplomatic row
Ties between India and Canada have been strained after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged India's role in the fatal shooting of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep S Nijjar, the chief of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). Nijar, a designated terrorist in India, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
India angrily rejected the Canadian PM's allegations as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to a similar move by Ottawa. India also temporarily suspended visa services for Canadian nationals in view of "security threats" and called for a reduction of Canadian diplomats in New Delhi.
India also advised all its nationals in Canada and those contemplating travelling there to exercise "utmost caution" in view of growing anti-India activities and "politically-condoned" hate crimes. The diplomatic standoff between both countries has laid uncertainties over trade relations, as India and Canada recorded a burgeoning bilateral trade for the past few years.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) emphasised that Canada had become a "safe haven" for Khalistani terrorists and extremists. The recent tensions between the two countries have raised concerns over the safety of Hindu-Canadians, after a pro-Khalistani organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) released a video message recently warning Hindus living in Canada and asked them to leave the country as soon as possible.
Canada updates travel advisory for India
In the latest development, Canada again sparked a major row by updating its travel advisory, wherein it cautioned its citizens about the tension between the two nations and alerted them about the entry and exit to New Delhi.
"In the context of recent developments in Canada and in India, there are calls for protests and some negative sentiment towards Canada on social media. Please remain vigilant and exercise caution," read the latest advisory.
(with inputs from ANI)