New Delhi, September 21
The government on Thursday pressed ahead with more retaliatory measures against Ottawa, including suspension of visas from its missions in the country and asking the High Commission here to reduce its staff so as to be commensurate with the Indian staff strength in Canada. The decision on visa suspension will include Canadian applicants in third countries.
Safe haven for ultras
If there is any nation that needs to look at reputational issues, it is Canada and its growing reputation as a safe haven for terrorists. The country needs to worry about its international reputation.
— Arindam Bagchi, mea spokesperson
India also said Canada has provided no specific information regarding Sikh terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder on June 18. “We are willing to look at any specific information that is provided to us, but so far we have received no specific information from Canada,” said Bagchi. In New York, however, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau called on India to cooperate with investigation into Nijjar’s killing and ruled out release of any evidence.
Advisory: Don’t give radicals TV platform
Grants for Trudeau from gurdwaras: Ravneet Bitttu
Cong MP Ravneet Singh Bitttu told the LS that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau was getting donations running into thousands of dollars from gurdwaras in Canada which were under the control of GS Pannun.
Ottawa has not acted on any of the several dossiers provided by Delhi on the activities of Indian-origin terrorists, radicals and gangsters who have found a safe haven in Canada, said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi at a media briefing here on Thursday. “I do think there is a degree of prejudice…. To us, it seems that these allegations by the Canadian government are primarily politically driven,” he said.
Canadian-Hindus ‘soft targets’
Stating that Hindu-Canadians are ‘soft targets’, Indian-origin MP Chandra Arya on Thursday urged the community to stay calm, vigilant and report incidents of Hinduphobia
On Wednesday, the government had issued a strongly worded travel advisory on Canada, and a day earlier, it had in a tit-for-tat action expelled the Station Head of Canadian intelligence posted here. “Clearly, we would expect better steps from the Canadians to ensure the safety of diplomats and the Indian origin community in Canada,” observed Bagchi.
Applicants in third countries also hit
- Visa suspension will include Canadian applicants in third countries
- Canadians having valid visas for India or OCI cards free to travel
- Canada to ‘temporarily’ adjust staff presence as precautionary step
The announcement of suspension of all categories of visas was announced in the morning, leading to consternation among a large number of relatives of Indo-Americans here. Bagchi, however, said the issue was not about travel to India but of incitement to violence and creation of an environment that makes the functioning of consulates difficult. He also said that it would be reviewed on a regular basis. Those who have valid visas for India or OCIs cards are free to travel, he clarified.
MEA advises students to stay alert
In its advisory, the MEA has asked students going to Canada to “stay alert, be cautious and look around” when in the country. Advising extreme caution, students have been asked to avoid regions and potential venues that have seen anti-India incidents.
In an announcement made earlier, Canada said it was reducing the number of diplomats in India due to security concerns.
Asked about Canada denying visas to former Army officials and Intelligence Bureau personnel who have served in Punjab, Bagchi admitted there were cases of some Indians not being given fair treatment or even of discrimination. And, the Indian Government had raised the issue with Ottawa, he said.
Bagchi added India had been engaged with friendly countries on various issues including this one. “We have been discussing, have conveyed our position and how we see the developments,” he observed. (With agency inputs)
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