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Pandering to Khalistani extremists not good for relations with India, not good for Canada: EAM

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday warned Canada over the “space” given to Khalistani separatists, extremists and supporters in that country and said it is “not good” for the bilateral relationship and “not good for Canada”.

The EAM was responding to a question regarding a tableau taken out by Khalistani elements at a parade in Brampton, depicting former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

Speaking at a press conference, EAM Jaishankar also slammed the Canadian NSA Jody Thomas for claiming that India was among the top foreign forces interfering in Canada.

On the issue of the tableau taken out by Khalistanis on June 4, depicting the assassination of Indira Gandhi, he said: “On the Indira Gandhi float issue… the bigger issue is the space that Canada has continuously given, and frankly, to us we are at a loss to understand, unless that’s the requirement for vote bank politics; if you look at their history, you’d think they should learn from history and not repeat it; It isn’t only one issue, there is a larger underlying issue, about the space given to separatists, to extremists and to people who advocate it; and I think it is not good for the relationship and not good for Canada.”

On the Canadian NSA’s comments on India, the EAM said, citing a Hindi idiom: “This is the case of ulta chor kotwal ko dante (a case of the pot calling the kettle black). If anybody has a complaint, we have a complaint, regarding the space they are giving to Khalistanis. I’m very perplexed with what I heard.”

He went on to say that the Khalistanis “do not represent any significant body of opinion, and are marginal elements.

“We do not believe they represent any significant body of opinion; they are marginal elements, not limited to Canada…”

The float on the assassination of Indira Gandhi was reportedly part of a 5-km long parade taken out by Khalistani supporters in Canada’s Brampton on June 4, just days before the 39th anniversary of Operation Blue Star on June 6.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s National Security Adviser Jody Thomas has said that India is among the top sources of foreign interference in Canada.

On the case of over 700 Indian students from Punjab who face deportation in Canada, he said that the Indian government is in talks with the Canadian authorities over the issue.

“For some time now there is this case of students who the Canadians say did not study in the college they should have and when they applied for work permit they got into difficulties.

“India has taken up their case, the MEA, Indian High Commission and consulates; Our point is that the students studied in good faith and if there were people who misled them then the culpable parties should be acted against. It is unfair to punish students who undertook their education in good faith.”

He cited the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau issuing a statement in the Canadian parliament in the regard.

“…They (Canadian authorities) are talking to the Indian High Commission,” he added.

“The Canadians accept that it would be unfair (to deport) if the student has done no wrong… I don’t know if all the cases are the same; if the student has done no wrong, they will try to find some solution for it, and we will continue to press and hope the Canadian system is fair in this regard,” the EAM added.

With more than 700 Indian students facing deportation from Canada over fake admission letters, Prime Minister Trudeau has said they will evaluate each case and the victims of fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate their situation and present evidence to support their case.

Hundreds of Indian students, mostly from Punjab, have been taking on to the streets in Canada saying they were cheated by their immigration consultation agency in India that provided them fake documents, of which they were unaware of.

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