In a deeply unsettling incident that occurred on June 4th during a 5-kilometer Sikh procession in the Canadian city of Brampton, there were disturbing elements that celebrated the tragic assassination of the late Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, by her Sikh bodyguards. This shocking tableau formed a part of the annual Sikh Martyrdom Parade, which drew a significant crowd in a city that boasts the largest Sikh population in Canada.
The video capturing the tableau has rapidly spread across the internet, depicting the distressing moment when Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. Additionally, the tableau prominently displayed Khalistani flags and a poster bearing the words, “Revenge for the attack on Shri Darbar Sahib,” while another poster carried the message, “Never Forget 1984. Sikh Genocide.”
The video has ignited a firestorm of criticism from online users, who are urging India to send a strong message to the Canadian Prime Minister, given the perception that Canada is becoming a breeding ground for pro-Khalistani elements.
One user emphasized that despite Indira Gandhi’s affiliation with the Congress party, members of the BJP are united in their refusal to support such a tableau out of respect for India’s former Prime Minister. In a broader context, the user hinted at the Congress party’s continued penchant for defaming PM Modi on international platforms.
Pro-Khalistani Movement in Canada?
This recent incident has once again thrust India’s concerns about the activities of pro-Khalistani elements in Canada into the spotlight. Notably, India had summoned the Canadian High Commissioner back in March to convey its deep concerns regarding the actions of pro-Khalistani extremists against Indian diplomatic missions in Canada in recent times.
India had also expressed its displeasure with Canada the previous year for conducting a vote on Khalistan, a movement advocating for a separate Sikh nation. This referendum was labeled as “deeply objectionable” and seen as politically motivated by extremist factions
Dr Jaishankar said, “I think there is a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence and I think it is not good for relationships and not good for Canada..
Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his counterpart Trudeau concerns about “continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada”. “The nexus of such forces with organised crime, drug syndicates, and human trafficking should be a concern for Canada as well. It is essential for the two countries to cooperate in dealing with such threats,” read India’s strongly-worded statement on the bilateral talks.
On his part, Trudeau said he had discussed Khalistan extremism and “foreign interference” with Prime Minister Modi multiple times.
In a shocking claim, Trudeau said on Monday that Canada’s security officials had reasons to believe that “agents of the Indian government” had carried out the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves,” he was quoted by news reports as saying.
The History of the Khalistani Movement
The backdrop to these events lies in the tragic history of Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi. On October 31, 1984, the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister occurred at her residence in New Delhi, following months of turmoil triggered by the Indian Army’s Operation Bluestar, aimed at ousting Sikh insurgents from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Operation Blue Star remains the largest internal security operation ever undertaken by the Indian Army. It was Indira Gandhi’s response to the growing law-and-order issues in Punjab due to the proliferation of the Khalistan movement. During this operation, which unfolded in Amritsar between June 1 and June 8, 1984, the Indian Prime Minister authorized the deployment of Indian soldiers to remove Sikh militants who had stockpiled weapons within the sacred precincts of Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple.
The Golden Temple’s Akal Takht complex had become a sanctuary for Khalistan supporters in the 1980s. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who had seized control of the Akal Takht complex in the Golden Temple, was the primary target of Operation Blue Star.
Official figures report that 492 civilians and at least 83 Army personnel lost their lives during the operation. Tragically, the Golden Temple also suffered damage, including a bullet striking a copy of the sacred Sikh text housed within its walls.