The tableau featuring the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi taken out by Khalistan sympathisers in the Canadian city of Brampton has drawn the ire of Congress leaders. Canadian High Commissioner in India Cameron MacKay too reacted, calling it "appalling".
Congress leader Milind Deora tweeted he was appalled by the parade taken out on June 4. "It's not about taking sides, it's about respect for a nation's history & the pain caused by its Prime Minister’s assassination. This extremism deserves universal condemnation & a united response," Deora said.
Jairam Ramesh responded to the tweet, calling it 'despicable'. He also urged external affairs minister S Jaishankar to take it up strongly with the Canadian authorities.
The incident also saw Canadian High Commissioner in India Cameron MacKay reacting. "I am appalled by reports of an event in Canada that celebrated the assassination of late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There is no place in Canada for hate or for the glorification of violence. I categorically condemn these activities," MacKay tweeted.
I am appalled by reports of an event in Canada that celebrated the assassination of late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There is no place in Canada for hate or for the glorification of violence. I categorically condemn these activities.— Cameron MacKay (@HCCanInd) June 7, 2023
The float, believed to be from the 5-km long parade taken out by Khalistan supporters on June 4, days before the anniversary of Operation Blue Star, had gone viral on social media. It showed bodyguards firing on the former Prime Minister, with signs that read, "revenge for the attack on Shri Darbar Sahib." This referred to the storming of the Golden Temple by Indian troops in 1984.
The video had drawn a huge backlash on social media, with some commenting that "celebrating the killing of former Prime Minister of India is not freedom of expression." Another wrote: "Does it help Canada's 'Indo-Pacific strategy'?
In March, the Indian government summoned the Canadian high commissioner to express concern regarding the recent actions of separatist and extremist groups towards its diplomatic mission.
Recently, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, grandson of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was heckled by a group of Khalistan supporters in California after they briefly interrupted his speech during an event.
Rahul was speaking at the ‘Mohabbat Ki Dukaan’ event organised by Indian Overseas Congress USA in Santa Clara when a few from the audience started raising slogans against him and the Gandhi family in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Gandhi, however, smiled and said: "Welcome, welcome ... nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukan". He then joined his supporters in the audience and responded with 'Bharat Jodo' slogans.