Canada has updated its travel advisory for its citizens in India as tensions mount between the two countries over the murder of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia.
In an update Sunday, the Canadian government cautioned about the potential for demonstrations and “negative sentiments” toward Canada in the wake of allegations that Indian government agents may be linked to the killing of Nijjar.
“In the context of recent developments in Canada and in India, there are calls for protests and some negative sentiment towards Canada on social media,” the updated advisory states.
“Please remain vigilant and exercise caution.”
“In view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada, all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution,” India’s foreign ministry said on Sept. 20.
Ties between India and Canada deteriorated sharply after New Delhi and Ottawa each expelled one of the other’s diplomats in a dispute over the murder of Nijjar, a prominent Sikh separatist leader, in B.C. in June.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped a bombshell on Sept. 18 in the House of Commons when he cited “credible” intelligence that agents of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government may be linked to the killing of Nijjar, who was a Canadian citizen.
Nijjar, who advocated for the Khalistan movement, was shot dead on June 18 outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, B.C.
India swiftly denied any role in the killing and described the allegations as “absurd.”
As the diplomatic spat deepens, a Canadian Sikh group has called on its members to protest outside the Indian diplomatic missions of main Canadian cities on Monday.
Sikh for Justice in Canada is planning demonstrations in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver to increase public awareness about Nijjar’s killing, a director of the organization told Reuters.
Meanwhile, Ottawa has also updated its entry and exit requirement section of the travel advice for India, saying: “As of September 21, 2023, Indian visa services in Canada have been suspended until further notice.”
It pointed to the BLS Indian Visa Application Center’s website for the latest information.
— with files from Global News’s Aaron D’Andrea and Reuters