'Not soft on pro-Khalistan supporters', says Canadian PM Trudeau

Canadian Premier warns of serious action against terrorism

Justin Trudeau

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday asserted that his government has taken serious action against terrorism and added it is wrong to believe that his government is soft on Khalistan supporters in the country.

His remarks came days after India summoned the Canadian envoy in New Delhi on Monday and issued a demarche over the increasing activities by pro-Khalistani elements in Canada. His remarks also came two days ahead of proposed pro-Khalistan rally outside the Indian High Commission in Ottawa on July 8.

"They are wrong. Canada has always taken extremely seriously violence and threats of violence. We have always taken serious action against terrorism and we always will," Trudeau said while responding to a question during a press conference. He was asked about a parade float in the Greater Toronto Area last month that depicted former prime minister Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Khalistan supporters, marking the 39th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, put up a tableau of late the prime minister with blood on her clothes and a poster that read, Revenge of attack on Shri Darbar Sahib.

Recently, provocative pro-Khalistani posters labelling some senior Indian diplomats as "killers" sparked outrage across India.

"We have an extremely diverse country and freedom of expression is something that we have but we will always make sure that we are pushing back against violence and extremism in all its forms," Trudeau said.

It is learnt that India has asked the Canadian authorities to take appropriate measures in view of planned protests by pro-Khalistan groups outside Indian missions in Canada on July 8.

Condemning the actions, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said earlier that India has asked its partner countries like Canada, the UK and the US not to give space to "extremist Khalistani ideology" as it is "not good" for relations. 

"We have already requested our partner countries like Canada, the US, the UK and Australia where sometimes Khalistani activities happen, not to give space to Khalistanis. Because their (Khalistanis) radical, extremist thinking is neither good for us nor for them nor our relations," Jaishankar said. 

Canada on Tuesday assured India of the safety of its diplomats

A statement by Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Tuesday termed the promotional material circulating ahead of the Khalistan rally "unacceptable". The minister, in the statement highlighting Canada's adherence to the Vienna Conventions, said: "Canada takes its obligations under the Vienna Conventions regarding the safety of diplomats very seriously."

Joly also emphasised that the actions of a few individuals "do not speak for an entire community or Canada". 

(With PTI inputs.)


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