New Delhi: Indian government issued an advisory for Indian nationals, students in Canada to exercise caution due to increased incidents of “hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities in Canada” on Friday. The advisory was issued by Ministry of External Affairs and shared on Twitter by the Official Spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi. The government said in the statement issued, “In view of the increasing incidences of crimes (of hate, sectarian violence and anti-India activities), Indian nationals and students from India in Canada and those proceeding to Canada for travel/education are advised to exercise due caution and remain vigilant.”Also Read – Stay Vigilant While Travelling to Canada: India To Students Amid Rising Hate Crimes
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) September 23, 2022
Also Read – American Professor Targets Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos; Says ‘Self-made Billionaires’ A ‘Myth’
Canada, counted among the safest countries in the world, is one of the most sough-after destinations for Indians seeking to emigrate or travel for education purposes. Also Read – China Creates New Arctic Wolf By Cloning
HERE IS WHY INDIAN GOVERNMENT ISSUED THE ADVISORY:
DIPLOMATIC ROW OVER KHALISTAN REFERENDUM
On September 19, a referendum was organised by pro-Khalistani group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which has been banned in India since 2019.Over one lakh Canadian Sikhs voted for the referendum, demanding a separate homeland for Sikhs, in Brampton, Ontario. On Thursday, India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi described the referendum as a “farcical exercise held by extremist and radical elements”. He also said it was “deeply objectionable” that this was allowed in a friendly country.
India had reportedly informed Canadian government about the “anti-India” activities taking hold within the North American nation but the Canadian government could not stop the Sikhs from expressing their views. A similar referendum was held earlier in the UK.
VANDALISATION OF TEMPLES
The gates of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto, one of the largest temples in the country, were spray-painted with the words “Khalistan zindabad” and “Hindustan murdabad”. The High Commission of India condemned the incident and asked Canadian authorities to investigate it and take prompt action against the perpetrators. “We strongly condemn defacing of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto with anti-India graffiti. Have requested Canadian authorities to investigate the incident and take prompt action on perpetrators,” it tweeted. Between November 2021 and March 2022, there have been several incidents of vandalism in Hindu and Jain temples and gurudwaras, reported Firstpost. Chander Arya, Member of Parliament of Canada tweeted that “This is not just an isolated event. Canadian Hindu temples have been targeted in the recent past by these kinds of hate crime. Hindu Canadians are legitimately concerned.”
Vandalism of Toronto BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir by Canadian Khalistani extremists should be condemned by all
This is not just an isolated event. Canadian Hindu temples have been targeted in the recent past by these kinds of hate crime
Hindu Canadians are legitimately concerned
— Chandra Arya (@AryaCanada) September 15, 2022
INCREASE IN HATE CRIMES
Statistics Canada — the country’s national statistical office — in a report, noticed a sharp rise in hate crimes in Canada since the start of the pandemic. According to data released last month by Statistics Canada, there was a 72 per cent jump in hate crimes between 2019 and 2021, perpetrated mostly against Asians, particularly the Chinese. The report also recorded a 71 per cent surge in hate crimes against Muslims in 2021.
ATTACKS TARGETING INDIANS
An Indian national was injured in a shooting rampage in Ontario on 12 September and later succumbed to the injuries. The deceased was identified as 28-year-old Satwinder Singh, who went there as a student. It is due to these incidents targeting Indian nationals that the central government has issued an advisory. In April, 21-year-old Indian student Kartik Vasudev was shot dead in Toronto in what was reported to be a “random attack”. However, the family suspected that it was an incident of hate crime and called for an investigation.
In September 2021, Prabhjot Singh Katri, 23, was found murdered at an apartment in Truro in Canada in another suspected case of a racially motivated hate crime. “My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of Prabhjot Singh Katri who was killed in Truro, NS. This is an unacceptable act of hate,” Sonia Sidhu, member of parliament for Brampton South, had tweeted back then.
In February last year, Hindus in Canada were attacked by alleged Khalistan supporters amid the farmers’ protest in India. The Ministry of External Affairs had intervened and taken up the matter with Canadian authorities of the Indian community facing threats from Khalistani fringe elements.