G20 Summit 2023: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday said that the issue of pro-Khalistani protests in his country came up during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserted that Canada will work on preventing violence and push back against hatred.
“Canada will always defend freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom of peaceful protest and it is extremely important to us.. at the same time we are always there to prevent violence and to push back against hatred,” he said during a briefing on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
Trudeau further stressed that “the actions of the few do not represent the entire community or Canada”, in regard to the Khalistani community. He further said that India is an extraordinarily important economy in the world and an important partner for Canada to tackle issues like climate change and supporting growth and prosperity for citizens.
Trudeau and PM Modi held a meeting earlier today. "Met PM Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. We discussed the full range of India-Canada ties across different sectors," tweeted PM Modi.
According to sources, PM Modi had raised the issue of rising Khalistani activities during bilateral talks with the United Kingdom and Canada. They further said that the Prime Minister always raised those issues that impinge directly on the national security of India.
British PM Sunak on pro-Khalistani activities
Ahead of the G20 Summit, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed India's concerns over activities of pro-Khalistani elements in the UK and asserted that no form of extremism is acceptable, adding that the right to hold lawful protest does not extend to violent or threatening behaviour.
"No form of extremism is acceptable in the UK, and I take the duty of the government to disrupt and counter violent, divisive ideologies, whatever they may be, very seriously. We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government to tackle the threat from pro-Khalistan extremism and the British police are fully empowered to deal with violent acts," he told to news agency PTI.
Attack on Hindu temple in Canada
Despite India raising continuous and grave concerns over the safety of Hindu temples in Canada, another incident of Hindu temple vandalism was reported in August. According to reports, the Khalistani extremist allegedly put posters of " bogus Khalistani referendums" at the door of Surrey Mandir in order to create fear among the Indian community. The incident happened in the British Columbia province of Canada.
The poster on the temple gate referred to and also had the picture of Khalistan Tiger Force chief and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was killed by two unidentified men in June this year. Since the killing, Khalistani supporters accused the Indian government of backing the killers-- a claim that New Delhi denied vehemently.
Multiple incidents of temple vandalisation reported this year
In April this year, BAPS Swaminarayan temple was vandalised with anti-India graffiti in Windsor in Canada's Ontario. Earlier in February, the Ram Mandir in Canada's Mississauga was vandalised with anti-India graffiti. The Consulate General of India in Toronto condemned the defacing of the Mandir and requested Canadian authorities to investigate the incident and take prompt action against the perpetrators.
In January, a Hindu temple in Brampton was defaced with anti-India graffiti triggering outrage among the Indian community. The Consulate General of India in Toronto condemned the vandalism at the Gauri Shankar Mandir stating that the act has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Indian community in Canada.
(with ANI inputs)