Toronto: Just ahead of India’s 76th Independence Day, another prominent Hindu temple was vandalised in the Canadian province of British Columbia with its walls defaced with anti-India and pro-Khalistan posters, according to reports.
The posters were found pasted on the front and rear walls of the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir in Surrey in the early hours of Saturday and were removed after they were discovered by the temple authorities. Displaying photos of Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the poster was shared by ‘The Australia Today’ on its Twitter handle and read: “Canada investigates India’s role in June 18th assassination”. The CCTV footage of the incident, which was shared on social media, showed two masked men pasting posters and taking pictures before leaving the temple premises. Despite New Delhi registering strong protests, an anti-India campaign continues in Canada with pro-Khalistani graffiti and posters targeting Indian diplomats and temples across the country. An uptick in the Khalistani poster campaign has been noted after Nijjar, chief of the separatist organisation Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was killed by two unidentified men on the premises of the gurdwara on June 18 evening. On August 1, a poster saying “wanted” and “kill India” was put up near the entrance to the building housing the consulate in Vancouver. In April this year, the premises of the BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Windsor was spray-painted with pro-Khalistan graffiti. Similarly, in January, the Gauri Shankar Mandir was targeted with anti-India graffiti in Brampton, with leaders in Canada and India asking the Ottawa government to take the matter ‘seriously’. In June, a tableau depicting former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by Sikh bodyguards was showcased in a parade in the country’s Punjab-dominated Brampton. The tableau, part of a Sikh parade in Brampton on June 4, depicted Khalistan flags with a poster that said “revenge”. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had raised the issue of security of Indian diplomats with his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Jakarta last month. Jaishankar had earlier said that Canada giving space to separatist elements was probably driven by “vote-bank politics”.