India Summons Canada High Commissioner, Concerned Over Sikh Protesters

India Summons Canada High Commissioner, Concerned Over Sikh Protesters

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India on Sunday subpoenaed Canada’s High Commissioner to express “serious concern” about Sikh protesters in Canada and how they have been allowed to violate the security of India’s diplomatic mission and consulates.

According to Canadian media reports, hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Indian consulate in Vancouver on Saturday over calls for an independent Sikh state, an issue that has been smoldering for decades and was recently reignited.

Canada has the highest population of Sikhs outside of their home state of Punjab in India.

“The Government of Canada is expected to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our diplomats and the security of our diplomatic premises to enable them to carry out their normal diplomatic duties,” India’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement follows Indian police who on March 21 launched a hunt for Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, who has reignited talk of an independent Sikh homeland and stoked fears of a return to violence that began in the 1980s and early 1990s killed tens of thousands of people over the years.

Political cartoons about world leaders

Police have charged Singh and his supporters with attempted murder, obstructing law enforcement and creating disharmony, and said he has been on the run since last week as officers attempted to block his motorcade and arrest him.

Indian police also launched an investigation last week into a protest outside their High Commission in London, in which protesters carrying “Khalistan” banners took down an Indian flag from a first-floor balcony at the High Commission to denounce recent police actions in the Indian state of Punjab . India summoned the top British diplomat in New Delhi last Sunday for an explanation.

Khalistan is the name of an independent Sikh homeland that some members of this community aspire to, both at home in India and in countries where Sikhs have settled.

(Reporting by M. Sriram, Editing by YP Rajesh and Michael Perry)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.