Arrest and prosecute those threatening diplomatic missions, India tells Canada

The MEA reminds the Justin Trudeau government of its obligations under the Vienna Convention

Updated - March 26, 2023 08:25 pm IST

Published - March 26, 2023 11:37 am IST - New Delhi

Protestors of the Khalistan movement demonstrate outside of the Indian High Commission in London. Image for representation purpose only.

Protestors of the Khalistan movement demonstrate outside of the Indian High Commission in London. Image for representation purpose only. | Photo Credit: AP

India over the weekend summoned the Canadian High Commissioner and asked the Justin Trudeau government to “arrest and prosecute” the pro-Khalistan elements who in the recent days posed a threat to the safety and security of India’s diplomatic missions in Canada. The Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) statement came a day after Foreign Minister of Canada Melanie Joly responded to a question in Canada’s Parliament regarding the continued police operation to nab fugitive Amritpal Singh in Punjab saying Ottawa was tracking the situation “closely”.

“The Government of India sought an explanation on how such elements were allowed, in the presence of police, to breach the security of our diplomatic mission and consulates. The Government of Canada was reminded of its obligations under the Vienna Convention, and asked to arrest and prosecute the individuals who have already been identified as being involved in such acts,” the MEA said in a press note on Sunday.

Worldview with Suhasini Haidar | Khalistan protests: What are India’s options?

Earlier, Ms. Joly, who was hosted here during the G20 foreign ministers meeting on March 1-2, placed Canada’s concern over the situation in Punjab as there reportedly are Canadian citizens (of Indian origin) in Punjab which has experienced suspension of Internet services because of the police crackdown to nab Mr. Singh. “We are aware of the evolving situation in Punjab and we are following it very closely. We look forward to a return to a more stable situation and you can always count on the Government of Canada to make sure that we will continue to address the concerns of many members of the community.”

Journalist assaulted

Police crackdown on Mr. Singh and his pro-Khalistan supporters triggered protests against Indian diplomatic missions in London, San Francisco and in Canada where High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma had to cancel his appearance at an event in British Columbia because of the threat posed by sword-wielding protesters. Ahead of Mr. Verma’s arrival, an Indian journalist was assaulted by the protesters.

India reminded the Government of Canada of its obligations according to the Vienna Convention and urged it to “arrest and prosecute the individuals” who were identified as participants in the incidents that have taken place in the backdrop of the developments in Punjab. “It is expected that the Canadian government will take all steps which are required to ensure the safety of our diplomats and security of our diplomatic premises so that they are able to fulfil their normal diplomatic functions,” said the MEA. 

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