The Congress demanded on Thursday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak to his Canadian counterpart and make it clear that such actions are ‘unacceptable’ to India. The Congress questioned why the External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar did not categorically denounce the parade in Canada that celebrated the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The main opposition party questioned Mr. Modi on why he had not spoken to his Canadian counterpart during the recent parade in Brampton when a tableau/float depicting the assassination went viral.
At a press conference earlier in the day, Mr. Jaishankar was asked to comment. He stated that the situation was not “good for relationships” but went on to address the more fundamental concern of a nation allowing space to separatists and extremists who support violence.
“I think there is a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence,” Mr. Jaishankar said, adding, ”I think it is not good for relationships, not good for Canada”.
Mr. Modi, the EAM, and the Indian High Commission in Canada must take decisive action to communicate the ire of 140 crore Indians, according to Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal, who noted that Indira Gandhi was one of the tallest leaders who gave her life for the sovereignty of India.
“The disgusting event of Brampton, Canada, compels PM Modi to rise above partisan interests and speak against such events being allowed. Why has EAM S. Jaishankar not summoned the Canadian High Commissioner yet? In his briefing today, S. Jaishankar gave a general statement, instead of specifically acknowledging Indira ji’s martyrdom. Why did he prevaricate, and not unequivocally condemn the event,” asked Mr. Venugopal.
Speaking at a press conference at the headquarters of the All India Congress Committee, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala advised the prime minister to speak with Justin Trudeau right away because Khalistani elements would “have an impact on the security situation in Punjab and the rest of the country.”
“Why does not our Prime Minister pick up the phone and speak to his Canadian counterpart [Justin Trudeau]? Why isnt the High Commissioner of Canada being summoned and a strong diplomatic protest being lodged? Why no action is being taken? Is it because this is a politically partisan thing and is this how you are going to treat India’s interest. That is our question,” he asked at a press conference.
The EAM’s assertion that the incident has implications for India and Canada’s relationship, according to Mr. Surjewala, is insufficient and “needs to be backed up with decisive action on the ground.”
Congress politician and former Union Minister Milind Deora brought up the topic for the first time when he posted a video of the recent procession in Brampton that featured the assassination.
“As an Indian, I’m appalled by the 5 km-long parade which took place in the city of Brampton, Canada, depicting the assassination of Indira Gandhi. It’s not about taking sides, it’s about respect for a nation’s history and the pain caused by its Prime Minister’s assassination,” tweeted Mr. Deora.
While Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted that the incident was reprehensible and that Dr. Jaishankar should strongly bring it up with the Canadian authorities, his colleague Supriya Shrinate tweeted, “..all that our govt has done is make this one general comment — without even naming Smt Indira Gandhi. Above all political considerations must come our nation’s security and interests. India needs to officially bring this up with the Canadian authorities.
Prior to this, Cameron Mackay, the Canadian High Commissioner to India, expressed his “appallment” at the news of the event in his nation that “celebrated” the killing of the Indian Prime Minister. “Hatred and the glorification of violence have no place in Canada. I vehemently reject these actions,” Mr. Mackay had tweeted.