New Delhi warns Indians in Canada to 'remain vigilant' amid increase in hate crimes, sectarian violence

New Delhi recently issued an advisory to Indian nationals in Canada in the wake of the country’s sudden spike in “anti-India activities.”

A statement issued by the Indian government on Friday urged Indians studying and working abroad to “exercise due caution and remain vigilant” due to “a sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities in Canada.”

The Indian government also recommended that Indian nationals register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver so that these agencies can “better connect with Indian citizens in the light of any requirement or emergency.

The primary trigger for the advisory was Canada’s defense of the “Khalistan referendum” — an unofficial campaign organized by thousands of Canadian Sikhs expressing support for the annexation of Punjab from India.

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Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, denounced the referendum as “politically motivated” and stemming from “extremist and radical elements in Canada.” He also noted that it was “deeply objectionable” that such “exercises were allowed in a friendly country.”

However, this is not the only indication that Canada has become a hotspot for tensions between the two parties. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, one of the largest Hindu temples in Canada, was recently vandalized by Khalistan supporters, who scribbled anti-India messages on its walls.

Overall, Canada has faced a 72 percent increase in hate crimes from 2019 to 2021, according to Statistics Canada.

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Featured Image via Hindustan Times