New Delhi (IANS): External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday strongly criticized Canada after visuals of a parade float depicting the assassination of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in Ontario’s Brampton surfaced.
Addressing a press conference to highlight achievements of the Centre in the last nine years in terms of foreign policy, Jaishankar said in response to the incident, “I don’t know why Canada does this. Giving space to extremist elements is not good for it.”
“Frankly, we are at a loss to understand other than the requirements of vote bank politics why anybody would do this. I think there is a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence,” he added.
To another query on a Canadian government official blaming India of meddling in its affairs, Jaishankar quipped, “Rather we have complaints against Canada on the space it gives to Khalistani elements. It is like the saying in Hindi – ‘Ulta chor kotwal ko daante’ [The thief has the audacity to scold the police officer].”
The minister went on to add that such incidents of Khalistani elements creating a ruckus have also occurred in many other countries like the UK and Australia.
“Our request to all these nations is that they should not be taken seriously, as these are marginal elements and are a small minority,” Jaishankar said.
MEANWHILE, the Congress opposition party urged Jaishankar to take decisive action in the matter. Milind Deora, a Congress leader and former Union minister, shared a video circulating on social media that allegedly captured the controversial float.
Expressing his dismay, Deora tweeted: “As an Indian, I am deeply disturbed by the 5 km-long parade held in Brampton, Canada, which featured a depiction of the assassination of Indira Gandhi.”
“It’s not about taking sides, it’s about respect for a nation’s history & the pain caused by its Prime Minister’s assassination,” he said on twitter.
“This extremism deserves universal condemnation & a united response,” he tweeted.
Responding to Deora’s tweet, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh expressed his agreement and stated: “I entirely agree! This is despicable and @DrSJaishankar should take it up strongly with the Canadian authorities.”
CANADIAN High Commissioner in India Cameron MacKay tweeted: “I am appalled by reports of an event in Canada that celebrated the assassination of late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There is no place in Canada for hate or for the glorification of violence. I categorically condemn these activities.”