Amid deteriorating relations between New Delhi and Ottawa over the killing of a Khalistani terrorist, Canada's Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has appealed for calm as Hindu-Canadians face threats to leave the country amid the row, terming the warnings as 'offensive and hateful'.
"There is no place in Canada for hate. The circulation of an online video in which Hindu Canadians are told to leave Canada is offensive and hateful, and is an affront to all Canadians and the values we hold dearly," said Public Safety Canada in a post on social media platform X.
The department further said that any acts of aggression, hate and incitement of fear against any community "have no place in this country and only serve to divide us". It appealed Canadians to respect one another and follow the rule of law, asserting that all communities deserve to feel safe.
Notably, 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. "Indo-Hindu leave Canada; go to India. You not only support India, but you are also supporting the suppression of speech and expression of pro-Khalistan Sikhs," SFJ’s legal counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannu said in a video that went viral on social media platforms.
Pannu, a top member of Sikhs for Justice, an outlawed organisation in India, was designated as a wanted terrorist in 2020.
How India-Canada relations declined?
Tensions between India and Canada increased dramatically after Justin Trudeau on Monday accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The Khalistani terrorist was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
After Trudeau's allegations, both countries expelled a diplomat and India has angrily rejected Turdeau's allegations as "absurd" and "motivated". New Delhi has suspended visa services for Canadian nationals and called for reduction in Canadian diplomats over the security situation and 'interference' in Indian matters, marking a dramatic decline in the bilateral relationship between both countries. India also issued a travel advisory asking Indians to refrain from travelling to India owing to 'anti-India activities, hate crimes and criminal violence'.
The Ministry of External Affairs has raised concerns about the ongoing developments related to the killing of Khalistani terrorists in Ottawa and tagged the allegations as "politically motivated". MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that Canada has not shared any proof of the allegations levelled by Trudeau.
Weeks before Canada made this explosive allegation implicating Indian officials in the killing of Khalistan Tiger Force Chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canadian officials sought public condemnation of the murder from their allies, including the United States, but were met with reluctance, The Washington Post reported.
Although India and Canada relations have generally been smooth, the Khalistan issue has long been a point of contention for both sides. Trudeau has long been called out for extending support to known Khalistani terrorists residing in Canada.