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India mounts pressure on Canada to act against Khalistani separatists, sets deadline to slash diplomatic staff in New Delhi

India has asked Canada to recall over 40 of its diplomats from India.

India has asked Canada to recall over 40 of its diplomats from India and set a deadline of October 10 for the repatriation. Canada has 62 diplomats in India and earlier India had said that the total should be reduced by 41. External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said the size of Canadian diplomatic staff in India is larger than what New Delhi has in Canada and that there should be a parity in strength and rank equivalence in the mutual presence.

Meanwhile encouraged by Canadian support to Khalistanis and unproven allegations of Indian involvement in Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar killing the separatist units in London too have now got in action. Barely two days after three Khalistani supporters stopped the Indian High Commissioner (IHC) to the United Kingdom (UK), Vikram Doraiswami, from entering a Gurudwara in Scotland’s Glasgow, the Khalistani supporters staged a protest outside Indian High Commission in London. The protest was held on October 02 as India celebrated Gandhi Jayanti.  British security forces were deployed at the site and the protestors were restricted across the street from the High Commission.

The Khalistani units in London are now accusing India’s role into the death of Khalistani terrorist Avtar Khanda. Khanda had died in Birmingham hospital owing to oncological complications. The protestors protested waving Khalistani flags along with posters of Nijjar. Not just men but even women, children and senior citizens were part of it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s defaced image was placed by the protestors.

The protestors were warned by the Metropolitan Police not to cross over near the IHC as they would be acted upon. India has not responded to the incident. IHC Doraiswami was busy with the day’s engagements which included paying respects to Mahatma Gandhi in front of his statue at Parliament Square. Students from London’s James School were also a part of the ceremony.

The Gurudwara committee in Glasgow has regretted the incident when the IHC was prevented by three out-of-town Khalistani supporters. On sidelines of same the family of deceased Khalistani terrorist Avtar Singh Khanda linked to the March 2023 vandalisation at the IHC has requested a formal inquest into his death from the chief coroner for England and Wales.

This request, made by Khanda’s family and the Sikh Federation UK aligns with the ongoing diplomatic tension between New Delhi and Ottawa, sparked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent allegations of India’s involvement in the death Nijjar. Both Nijjar and Khanda were associated with Khalistani organizations designated as terrorist groups in India. Barrister Michael Polak is leading the call for an inquest. Polak suggested that British police should have recognized that Khanda might be in danger. While he couldn’t definitively state that India was responsible for Khanda’s death, Polak argued that the circumstances warranted an investigation. He emphasized that there were threats against Khanda, and he was prominently featured in the media as “enemy no 1.”

Khanda died on June 15 this year after being hospitalized in Birmingham due to sudden illness. The official cause of death, determined through a post-mortem examination, was acute myeloid leukemia (blood cancer). Khanda’s family expressed concerns, stating that they had not received medical records or evidence supporting the leukemia diagnosis. His mother, unable to attend the funeral due to an alleged visa denial by the Home Office, believed he was poisoned.

The West Midlands police conducted a thorough review of Khanda’s death and found no suspicious circumstances. Khanda was handler of radical separatist Amritpal Singh who was arrested by Punjab police on various charges, including inciting disharmony among classes and attempted murder.

Also read : Indian ambassador stopped from entering Gurdwara in Glasgow, Khalistani radicals release video of the incident