New Delhi: India has strongly criticized Canada for permitting a float in a parade held in Brampton, which allegedly celebrated the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Speaking during a media interaction, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar expressed concern over the space given to separatists, extremists, and individuals promoting violence in Canada, stating that it was detrimental to the bilateral relationship.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar
Image Source: DrSJaishankar/Twitter

Jaishankar said that there is a bigger issue involved. He added that they are at a loss to understand why anybody would do this, other than the requirements of vote bank politics.  

The external minister said that there is a larger underlying issue about the space given to separatists, extremists, and people who advocate violence. He also added that this is not good for relationships, nor is it good for Canada.

Cameron Mackay, the Canadian High Commissioner to India, also voiced his shock at the occasion and condemned the celebration of violence. He tweeted that Canada has no place for hatred or acts of violence.

The controversial video depicting the float celebrating Indira Gandhi’s assassination has faced significant backlash on social media platforms. In response, the High Commission of India in Ottawa formally conveyed its displeasure to Global Affairs Canada (GAC), expressing concerns to the Canadian government about the incident.

This incident comes after a security breach at the Indian embassy in Ottawa earlier this year, which prompted the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to summon the Canadian High Commissioner. The MEA expressed strong concern about the actions of separatist and extremist elements targeting Indian diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has been asked to raise the issue firmly with Canadian authorities by the opposition party, Indian National Congress.  

Congress leaders, including Milind Deora and Shashi Tharoor, condemned the float’s depiction of the assassination, emphasizing the importance of respecting a nation’s history and acknowledging the pain caused by such acts.

Milind Deora shared the video on social media, stating that the issue is not about taking sides, it’s about respect for a nation’s history and the pain that the assassination of a powerful prime minister has caused. 

Another Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor agreed with his tweet, stating that there should be no politics in condemning such a shameful act across party lines. 

Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary (Communications), echoed the sentiments, stating that the act was despicable and that Jaishankar should strongly address the issue with Canadian authorities.

The video in question is believed to be from a parade organized by Khalistan supporters in Brampton on June 4. The parade coincided with the 39th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, which occurred on June 6, 1984. A sign displayed during the parade justified the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi, as she ordered the Indian Army troops to conduct military operations inside the holy place of Sikhs, the Harminder Sahib. 

The controversial parade in Brampton, Canada
Image source: Twitter

Operation Blue Star was initiated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to address concerns about weapon stockpiling within the Golden Temple premises, where Sikh militancy led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was prevalent. The operation faced significant criticism. Several months later, on October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated at her residence in New Delhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards.

India’s condemnation of the float’s celebration of violence reflects its strong objection to the support for separatist movements and the glorification of such acts. India urges the Canadian government to take a stronger stance against these activities and emphasizes the importance of maintaining respectful bilateral relations between both nations.

Bishnu is currently pursuing Post graduate diploma in English Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. He can write or articulate informative and creative content on various issues and is interested in politics, food, socio-economic issues, history, gender studies, and peace and conflict studies.

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