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Toronto Protests Erupt In Response To Assassination Of Prominent Sikh Figure In Vancouver

A few hundred members of Canada's Sikh community gathered outside the Indian consulate in Toronto on Saturday as Toronto protests erupt in response to assassination of prominent sikh figure in Vancouver last month.

Author:Paolo Reyna
Reviewer:Hajra Shannon
Jul 10, 2023
A few hundred members of Canada's Sikh community gathered outside the Indian consulate in Toronto on Saturday as Toronto protests erupt in response to assassination of prominent sikh figure in Vancouver last month.
The demonstrators sought answers and justice for the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent figure who served as the president of a Sikh temple and passionately campaigned for the creation of an independent Sikh state, often referred to as Khalistan.

Sikh leader assassinated outside a British Columbia temple

Accusations Against Indian Government Fuel Outrage

Accusing the Indian government of being responsible for Nijjar's tragic killing, the protesters voiced their concerns and frustrations.
When an Indian agency and system commit a crime, they have to be held accountable.- Kuljeet Singh, spokesperson for Sikhs for Justice
Nijjar, who had been declared a wanted terrorist by India, was fatally shot on June 18 in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver with a significant Sikh population.
Hakirt Singh, a protester and lawyer, emphasized the need for a thorough investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, categorizing the murder as a political assassination.
When there is vandalism against a member of Parliament, you see tweets and reactions from politicians. Here it is an assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. That is foreign interference.- Hakirt Singh, a protester and lawyer

Clash Of Ideologies Amidst Separatist Movement

Nijjar's advocacy for an independent Sikh state, involving territories in northern India and potentially parts of Pakistan, sparked controversy.
India accused Nijjar of carrying out terrorist attacks within the country, an allegation he vehemently denied.
The protesters, mostly men, proudly waved yellow flags adorned with blue logos representing their separatist movement, chanting slogans of "Khalistan! Khalistan!"
The demonstrators embarked on their journey from the Toronto suburbs, arriving at the Indian consulate to find approximately 50 members of the diaspora supporting the Indian government.
Tensions escalated when counterdemonstrators voiced concerns about past terrorist acts committed by certain groups within the Sikh community.
Vijay Jain, an IT consultant among the counterdemonstrators, expressed worries about a poster advocating the killing of Indian diplomats and urged politicians to take appropriate actions.
They have a poster here calling to kill Indian diplomats. We are concerned because these groups have committed terrorist acts in the past and politicians are not taking actions.- Vijay Jain, an IT consultant

Police Intervention And Escalating Tensions

A line of 20 policemen intervened to maintain order and separate the two groups, preventing further clashes. However, one Sikh protester was apprehended after forcefully breaching a barrier and attempting to cross over.
The murder of the Sikh leader has led to increased tensions between Canada and India, with New Delhi regularly accusing Ottawa of laxity in handling Sikh protesters in the country.
Amidst rising tensions, India's foreign minister's spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, urged the Canadian government to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Indian diplomats.
We have asked the Canadian government to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our diplomats.- Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for India's foreign minister
The murder of Nijjar has brought the issue of diplomatic security to the forefront, intensifying the diplomatic exchange between the two nations.
Canada boasts the largest Sikh population outside of India's Punjab, making it a significant center for the Sikh diaspora.
The community's strong presence and activism within the country have drawn attention to their concerns and demands, amplifying their voices on issues relating to human rights, justice, and autonomy.

Final Words

The protest outside the Indian consulate in Toronto by Canada's Sikh community reflects their deep-seated concerns and demands for justice following the unsolved murder of a prominent Sikh leader.
Accusing the Indian government of responsibility, the demonstrators called for accountability and a thorough investigation into the killing.
As tensions rise between Canada and India, diplomatic safety concerns are emphasized, while the significant Sikh population in Canada continues to advocate for their rights and aspirations for an independent Sikh state.
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Paolo Reyna

Paolo Reyna

Paolo Reyna is a writer and storyteller with a wide range of interests. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies. Paolo enjoys writing about celebrity culture, gaming, visual arts, and events. He has a keen eye for trends in popular culture and an enthusiasm for exploring new ideas. Paolo's writing aims to inform and entertain while providing fresh perspectives on the topics that interest him most. In his free time, he loves to travel, watch films, read books, and socialize with friends.
Hajra Shannon

Hajra Shannon

Hajra Shannona is a highly experienced journalist with over 9 years of expertise in news writing, investigative reporting, and political analysis. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and has contributed to reputable publications focusing on global affairs, human rights, and environmental sustainability. Hajra's authoritative voice and trustworthy reporting reflect her commitment to delivering insightful news content. Beyond journalism, she enjoys exploring new cultures through travel and pursuing outdoor photography
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