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Diplomatic Spat: India Suspends Visas for Canadians Amid Assassination Allegations

Friday, September 22, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens amid a diplomatic dispute. BLS International, which handles Indian visa applications in Canada, announced the suspension in a letter to Indian stock exchanges. The move followed a travel advisory from India urging its citizens in Canada to remain vigilant due to "politically condoned hate crimes" and threats against Indian diplomats and community members who oppose anti-India agendas.

This dispute began when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that authorities were investigating "credible allegations" of a potential link between "agents of the government of India" and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh Canadian citizen. Nijjar was an advocate for the creation of Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland that includes parts of India's Punjab state. India denies any involvement in his death, calling the allegations "absurd and motivated."

In response to Trudeau's statement, India and Canada expelled senior diplomats, straining their relationship. The Khalistan movement is outlawed in India, and some of its associated groups are designated as "terrorist organizations." Nijjar's name appeared on India's list of terrorists, and he was accused of trying to radicalize the Sikh community worldwide in favor of Khalistan.

Nijjar was fatally shot by two masked assailants outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia. His death shocked and angered Canada's Sikh community, one of the largest outside India, with over 770,000 members.

The travel advisory, visa suspension, and diplomatic expulsions have created tensions between India and Canada, affecting their partnership with the United States. While Canada continues to investigate Nijjar's killing, no arrests have been made in connection with the case.

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