Mon, 04 Dec 2023

Ottawa [Canada], September 26 (ANI): The Vancouver Police Department has closed the road around the Indian Consulate in Vancouver ahead of a protest planned by Khalistan supporters over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations that the Indian government was behind the fatal shooting.

Barriers have been placed blocking the entrance to the Indian Consulate in Vancouver's building on Howe Street, Canada-based CTV News reported.

The rally is scheduled for Monday at 11 am (local time). The World Sikh Organization in advance has issued a warning of the possibility of "incitement and interference" and called for vigilance, CTV News reported.

In a statement, the organization's president Tejinder Singh Sidhu called for finding the killers of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. He further said, "If members of the community feel unsafe or see attempts to incite violence, we encourage them to immediately contact law enforcement," CTV News reported.

In a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, Vancouver Police stated, "VanTraffic: Howe Street is closed to vehicle traffic between W Cordova and W Hastings Street. Please plan an alternate route until further notice."Tensions between India and Canada have been strained after Justin Trudeau on September 18 alleged India's involvement in the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Nijjar, who was a designated terrorist in India, was killed outside a Gurdwara in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18. India, however, rejected the allegations, terming them "absurd" and "motivated".

"We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

"Allegations of Government of India's involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated," the MEA added in its statement.

"Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and were completely rejected. We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law," it added.

India also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a reciprocal move to Canada expelling a senior Indian diplomat in light of the claim of New Delhi's involvement in the killing of Nijjar.

Meanwhile, Indian nationals, students in Canada and those planning on travelling to the country have been advised to exercise caution amid the recent strain in relations between the two countries.

Indian nationals and Indian students in Canada are advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen growing anti-India activities, according to a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday. Indian students in Canada have been particularly advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant.

Indian nationals and students in Canada must also register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites or the MADAD portal madad.gov.in. Registration would enable the High Commission and the Consulates General to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any emergency or untoward incident, according to MEA. (ANI)

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