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India Requests For Tighter Security At Its Canadian Missions Ahead Of Punjab Elections In India

A year after protesters blocked India’s embassy in Vancouver and pro-Khalistan speeches were made there, New Delhi has formally requested that Canada provide “ample deployment” of protection at its embassies in the nation to ensure that similar disturbances do not occur again.

The Indian appeal was sent to Canada’s foreign ministry, Global Affairs Canada, via a note verbale, an official diplomatic statement issued by India’s High Commission in Ottawa.

According to a senior Indian official, they have sent “precise and specific intelligence” about threats to the missions in Canada. “We have already conveyed more blatant threats we’ve received to our Canadian colleagues and asked them to ensure nothing untoward happens,” the official said.

The apprehension is there this year since Punjab elections are approaching, and the breakaway group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has made clear declarations about disrupting Republic Day festivities in Vancouver. Other extremist organizations plan a car march to the embassy in Toronto and a protest in front of the High Commission in Ottawa.

According to the official, indications have been obtained that Canadian law enforcement entrusted with diplomatic security will “increase patrolling and deploy static and plainclothes troops.” According to SFJ’s general counsel, Gurpatwant Pannun, protesters in support of the Khalistan Referendum have been allocated to “Raise Khalistan Block Tiranga” on January 26 at India’s missions, including the one in Vancouver, which has been tasked to Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet against Nijjar before a special court in New Delhi in November last year, under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for plotting terrorist actions in India. The SFJ and Nijjar have denied any involvement in terrorism, despite publicly supporting secession and backing the non-binding vote.

The vehicle rally in Toronto is being held to demand that the Indian government “free all Sikh Political Prisoners who have served their terms.” As per Sukhminder Singh Hansra, a senior member of Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar Canada, one of the rally’s main planners and a prominent pro-Khalistan figure in Canada, this was concluded at a meeting last week and is backed by his organization as well as the Ontario Gurdwaras Committee, Sikh Motorcycle Club of Canada, and others.

A group of gurdwaras is also planning a protest in front of the consulate in Vancouver. The protest will follow the same plan as the rally in Toronto. India’s Ministry of External Affairs formally expressed its unhappiness over the blockade of the Canadian consulate in Vancouver last year.

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