India asks for enhanced security at its missions in Canada : What you need to know
A year after India’s consulate in Vancouver was blockaded by protesters and pro-Khalistan speeches delivered at the site, India has formally asked Canada for “ample deployment” of security at its missions in the country so there is no repeat of such disruption.
A senior Indian official told the media that they have communicated information relating to threats to the missions in Canada and asked them to ensure nothing untoward happens.
There is concern this year as elections in Punjab are due, and there have been open statements about disturbing Republic Day functions in Vancouver from the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), while other hardline groups have planned a car rally at the consulate in Toronto and a demonstration in front of the High Commission in Ottawa.
SFJ’s general counsel Gurpatwant Pannun has said that activists supporting its Khalistan Referendum have been assigned to “Raise Khalistan - Block Tiranga” on January 26 at India’s missions, including that in Vancouver, which has been tasked to Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In November last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet against Nijjar before a special court in New Delhi, under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, related to planning terror acts in India.
Nijjar and the SFJ have denied any involvement in terrorism though they openly support secession and are behind the non-binding referendum.