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No new updates in ‘Risk Levels’ and ‘Safety and Security’ in travel advisory for India: Canada clarifies

The clarification was called for as a set of media reports had alleged that the mention of “Punjab” and “Gujarat” in the travel advisory was added recently.

September 29, 2022 03:47 pm | Updated 03:47 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Photo used for representation purpose only.

Photo used for representation purpose only. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

No new updates were made to the “Risk Levels” and “Safety and Security” sections of the Canadian government’s travel advisory for India, The Hindu has learned. The official Canadian response in this regard came following Indian media reports that claimed that Ottawa in a “tit for tat” advisory for India, had urged nationals to avoid border states like Gujarat and Punjab. 

“The information in the ‘Risk Level’ and ‘Safety and Security’ sections of the Travel Advisory has not been recently updated and has been in place for a long period of time, and publicly available,” said a High Commission of Canada Spokesperson on September 29, 2022 and added, “The update made on September 27 was related only to the ‘Health’ section and more specifically to the ‘COVID-19 and International Travel’ and ‘Monkeypox: Advice for travellers’ sub-sections.”

The clarification was called for as a set of media reports had alleged that the mention of “Punjab” and “Gujarat” in the travel advisory was added recently. This was categorically denied by the Canadian side.

India-Canada political and diplomatic relation has been facing difficulties in the wake of an online “referendum” for Khalistan conducted during September 18-19 by certain individuals in Brampton, Ontario. This initiative was described as a “farcical exercise” by the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson had said last week that India would continue to “push” Canada to prevent such campaigns. In this backdrop, on September 23, India cited “sharp increase” in hate crimes and “anti-India activities” and urged its citizens “to exercise due caution and remain vigilant”. 

The Official Spokesperson alleged that Canada had not acted on the complaints of “hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities” and said, “The perpetrators of these crimes have not been brought to justice so far in Canada.” In April this year, an Indian management student Kartik Vasudev was shot dead in Canada. Subsequently, Toronto Police arrested a suspect Richard Jonathan Edwin who reportedly shot Mr Vasudev multiple times without any provocation near a subway station. The killer in this case appears to have been motivated by racial hatred and had targeted minority community members before.

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