Amidst the Sikh leader’s murder controversy, India cautions its citizens against traveling to Canada.

India has issued a warning to its citizens regarding travel to specific areas of Canada, marking the latest development in a diplomatic dispute stemming from allegations made by Ottawa that New Delhi was involved in the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader earlier this year. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on India to treat the revelation of its investigation into the murder of the Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, with the utmost seriousness, leading to a series of reciprocal diplomatic expulsions and India’s vehement denial of any involvement in Nijjar’s June killing.

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India’s foreign ministry expressed concern for the safety of its citizens in Canada, citing politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence without explicitly mentioning the diplomatic dispute. The ministry warned that threats had been directed at Indian diplomats and members of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda and advised Indian nationals to avoid traveling to regions in Canada that have witnessed such incidents.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was assassinated by two masked assailants outside a Sikh place of worship he oversaw in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver in British Columbia province. Nijjar had been an advocate for the creation of Khalistan, an independent Sikh homeland, in India’s northern state of Punjab, which shares a border with Pakistan and is the birthplace of the Sikh religion.

In 2020, India designated him as a “terrorist” and sought his arrest on charges of conspiring to commit murder, allegations he denied according to the World Sikh Organization of Canada, a nonprofit organization advocating for the interests of Canadian Sikhs. The Indian government accuses Ottawa of turning a blind eye to the activities of hardline Sikh nationalists advocating for the establishment of Khalistan.

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