Canadian Sikhs protested against the Indian government over the killing.

TORONTO/OTTAWA, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Canadian Sikhs held small protests outside India’s diplomatic mission on Monday, a week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a Sikh separatist lawyer in New Delhi and British Columbia There may be a connection between the murders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in Parliament a week ago and said the country’s intelligence agencies were actively pursuing credible allegations linking New Delhi agents to the June shooting of Canadian national Hardeep Singh Ninja, 45.

About 100 protesters in Toronto burned the Indian flag and kicked a cardboard cutout of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. About 200 protesters also gathered outside the consulate in Vancouver.

In Ottawa, less than 100 people gathered in front of the Indian High Commissioner’s office (embassy) in the capital. They waved yellow flags emblazoned with Dunya “Khalsan”, a reference to their support for an independent state for Sikhs in the Punjab region of India, which Ninja campaigned for. was

“We are truly grateful to Justin Trudeau … We want no stone unturned to get to the bottom of this cowardly act,” protester Reshma Singh Bolens said in Ottawa. Canada should press India to “stop killing innocent people in the future”.

Canada is home to about 770,000 Sikhs – the largest Sikh population outside of their home state of Punjab – and has seen a number of protests in recent years that have angered India.

India termed Trudeau’s allegations as ‘baseless’. It warned travelers last week that there was increasing “anti-Indian activity” in Canada, urging “extreme caution”, but did not provide evidence or details of specific incidents.

The allegations have cast a spotlight on Canada’s Sikh community. Sikhs make up only 2 percent of India’s 1.4 billion people, but they are the majority in Punjab, the state of 30 million where their religion originated 500 years ago.

“The Indian government used nefarious tactics and compromised Canada’s sovereignty,” said Kuljeet Singh, a Toronto protester and member of the Sikhs for Justice group.

Canada’s accusations have sparked retaliation, with each country expelling diplomats and New Delhi suspending visas for Canadians.

Some protesters in both Toronto and Ottawa called for the expulsion of India’s high commissioner (ambassador) to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, who had earlier said authorities had been informed of the protests and were providing security. are

Ninja, who worked as a plumber, left the northern Indian state of Punjab a quarter of a century ago to become a Canadian citizen. He has supported the establishment of an independent Sikh homeland. India declared him a “terrorist” in July 2020.

CBC News, citing unnamed sources, reported last week that the Canadian government had gathered both human and signals intelligence in its months-long investigation into the Sikh separatist leader.

A senior Canadian government source told Reuters the US worked with Canada on intelligence pointing to the possible involvement of Indian agents in the June killing of a Canadian citizen.

Reporting by Vaughan and Steve Shearer; Written by Danny Thomas and Steve Shearer; Additional reporting by Jennifer Gauthier in Vancouver; Edited by Chizo Nomiyama and Jonathan Otis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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