TORONTO (Reuters) – A week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the possibility of New Delhi’s participation in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia, a few members of a Canadian Sikh group gathered outside the Indian diplomatic post in Toronto on Monday.
The demonstrations, which are also scheduled for Ottawa and Vancouver, are intended to raise awareness of India’s alleged involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a sizable Sikh community, according to one of the protest organizers, Reuters.
Jatinder Singh Grewal, a director for the organization Sikh for Justice in Canada, estimated that between 100 and 150 people would participate in the demonstrations, however as of the scheduled start time of noon, just 12 people had assembled in front of the Indian embassy in Toronto.
Punjabi-language chants of “Khalistan live forever” were started by protesters.
Last week, Trudeau declared that Canada was looking into “credible allegations” that Nijjar’s killing may have included Indian government officials.
The charges were immediately refuted by India, which also called them “absurd” and denied any involvement in the murder. Both nations have retaliated in like in response to the claims, with each country dismissing ambassadors and New Delhi withholding visas for Canadians.
Grewal told Reuters on Sunday, “We are requesting Canada to remove the India ambassador.
Sanjay Kumar Verma, the Indian High Commissioner to Canada, stated that the demonstrations have been reported to the appropriate authorities.
“The host nation is responsible for ensuring the security of diplomatic facilities and staff. In an email, Verma stated, “I have no reason to assume that such a pledge will go unmet.
The Toronto Police Department said that it was aware of the planned protests on Monday but chose not to provide any information regarding security measures taken or a potential course of action in the event that any violent incidents occurred during the protest.
Nijjar, a plumber, immigrated to Canada 25 years ago after leaving the Punjab province in northern India. He has backed the creation of Khalistantan, an autonomous Sikh nation to be carved out of Punjab. In July 2020, India labeled Nijjar a “terrorist”.
According to CBC News last week, which cited unnamed sources, the Canadian government has gathered both human and signals information in a months-long probe of the Sikh separatist leader.
According to U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen, Trudeau was notified of the potential participation of Indian operatives in the death of a Canadian citizen in June through “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners,” according to CTV News.