India warns its citizens in Canada of ‘increase in hate crimes’ | Government News

The New Delhi advisory reports “incidents of hate crime, sectarian violence and anti-Indian activity” in Canada.

The Indian government has advised its nationals in Canada to exercise caution, citing “a sharp increase in incidents of hate crime, sectarian violence and anti-Indian activity” in the North American country.

In an advisory issued Friday, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Indians in Canada to “stay vigilant”.

“Given the increasing crime rate… Indian citizens and students from India in Canada and those going to Canada for travel/education are advised to exercise caution,” it said.

The consultancy said New Delhi has asked Canadian authorities to investigate the crimes and take appropriate action. “The perpetrators of these crimes have not yet been brought to justice in Canada,” it said.

The ministry has not provided details of alleged hate crimes, nor has it provided any information to substantiate its claim that Canada has seen an increase in such incidents.

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Canada’s State Department and a spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment Friday morning.

In the advisory, New Delhi urged its nationals – workers and students – in Canada to register with the Indian mission in Ottawa or the consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.

Indian media reports on Friday said the advice followed reports of a “referendum” allegedly organized by a faction among the Sikhs in Canada demanding a separate Khalistan nation in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

The separatist movement was at its peak in the 1980s.

In June 1984, New Delhi sent troops to the Golden Temple – the community’s holiest site in the Punjab city of Amritsar – in a military operation targeting pro-Khalistan leaders. Operation Blue Star, as the army attack was called, claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

In October of that year, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards, an event that sparked nationwide anti-Sikh riots in which thousands were killed.

Today, Sikhs make up a large portion of Canada’s 1.6 million Indian diaspora — more than 3 percent of the population. Canada has 17 MPs and three ministers of Indian descent, including Defense Minister Anita Anand, the Hindustan Times reported.

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India has repeatedly raised the issue of Canada allowing Khalistani’s separatist groups to operate on his land.

New Delhi believes the Trudeau administration has not done enough to allay its concerns about the activities of pro-Khalistan elements in Canada, according to the Hindustan Times.

India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi called the referendum in Canada Thursday a “farcical exercise of extremist and radical elements,” according to a report by the NDTV network.

Bagchi said it was “very reprehensible” that such an exercise was allowed in a friendly country.

In response, the Canadian government said it respects India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will not recognize the so-called referendum, according to Indian media reports.

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