India will formally complain to the Canadian government over allowing a pre-planned blockade of its consulate in Vancouver by protesters ostensibly opposing farm laws, with some carrying Khalistan flags and placards.
The matter will be “taken up” shortly with Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, diplomatic sources told the SNN.
A sizeable group of protestors converged on the veranda leading to the building housing the consulate on Republic Day, and were not prevented by local law enforcement from blocking the entrance.
Protests will also be lodged with the provincial government of British Columbia, where Vancouver is located, and with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP ) which is responsible for ensuring security for diplomats and diplomatic premises. While the Vancouver Police Department is responsible for law and order in the city, missions deal with local law enforcement through the RCMP.
The diplomatic sources said they were incensed that the protestors were allowed to “violate the sanctity of diplomatic premises” and for permitting them to take “direct action despite promises to the contrary.”
What is of particular concern to Indian authorities is that among the protestors at the consulate was a person who had recently threatened India’s consul general Manish. Also believed to be present was Hardeep Singh Nijjar, among the main Khalistani figures in Canada. Plans for the blockade had been announced in advance by the separatist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and despite the forewarning, the lack of measures to prevent the obstruction has also incensed Indian diplomats.
While the flag unfurling ceremony to mark Republic Day celebrations took place early in the morning, protestors arrived and blocked the building around 8.30 am and remained in front of it for several hours.
What has disappointed Indian diplomats more is that the day commenced on a positive note with a warm message on Republic Day from Canada’s new foreign minister Marc Garneau, which was also shared on social media by external affairs minister S Jaishankar.
“On India’s Republic Day, we are reminded of the importance of strengthening current bonds as well as forging new ones in the years ahead,” Garneau said, in an official statement released by his office.
He also said that the “challenges of the past year show that the links between our countries continue to grow stronger” and that “India’s leadership in sustaining global supply chains of critical medical supplies and pharmaceuticals has proven to be invaluable, helping a great number of Canadians.”