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Dhaka Tribune

UK: Indian envoy blocked from entering Sikh temple

  • High tensions: Indian government and Sikh diaspora
  • Indian envoy to UK barred from Sikh temple in Glasgow
Update : 01 Oct 2023, 09:35 AM

Radical Sikh activists stopped the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, from entering a Sikh temple in Scotland on Friday, media reports said.

An unverified video posted on Instagram showed a man confronting the Indian envoy at the Glasgow gurdwara, a Sikh temple, from entering the temple.

Indian media reported that the government had raised the issue with the UK's Foreign Office, with The Hindu newspaper reporting that the Indian envoy was invited by the Gurudwara committee but two people stopped him.

India has "taken up the matter with the UK authorities and asked them that they should have arranged security for our envoy on the ground,” the paper reported.

The killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar

Tensions  have risen between Ottawa and New Delhi after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau suggested there was a link between the Indian government and the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar

Nijjar was killed in British Columbia this July, decades after leaving India as a refugee.

Sikh separatists support the cause of Khalistan or the creation of an independent homeland for Sikhs carved out of India's Punjab region.

India had labeled Nijjar a terror suspect in 2020 and termed Ottawa's claims "absurd."

In response to the accusations, India halted visa processing for Canadians and issued a travel advisory. Both sides expelled a diplomat amid strained ties.

Canada hosts a significant Indian diaspora, including a large Sikh community of around 800,000 people. The tow has also renewed focus on the tensions between New Delhi and Sikhs both inside and outside India.

On Friday, hundreds of Sikh activists protested outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in the northern Indian state of Punjab, demanding punishment for the Nijjar's killers.

US asks India and Canada to work together

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that he had urged his Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, to collaborate with Canada to probe the killing. The two diplomats had met at the State Department on Thursday.

"We're very concerned about the allegations that have been raised by Canada, by Prime Minister Trudeau," Blinken told a news conference.

"Those responsible need to be held accountable and we hope that our friends in both Canada and India will work together to resolve this matter."

Earlier this week, Jaishankar said India has conveyed to Canada it was open to looking into any "specific" or "relevant" information it provides on the killing.

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