Diwali celebrations in Mississauga, Canada, turned violent as Khalistanis and Indians clashed on Oct 24. The incident occurred a month after the SFJ-backed Khalistan Referendum was organised in Brampton. As per the local police, around 400-500 people were involved in the clash.
Several videos of the clash in Malda area of Mississauga went viral on social media.
Clash Among Khalistan Supporters and Indians
Insauga, a Canadian online news outlet, reported that the clash occurred in the Malton area, Mississauga.
The fight video was highly shared — both by Khalistanis and pro-Indian supporters — on social media platforms. In the viral video, one group can be seen waving the tricolor while the other group had the Khalistani Referendum banners. Meanwhile, the police were attempting to separate the groups.
As per Peel Regional Police, “officers received reports of a fight in the area of Goreway and Etude drives on Monday night”.
Rising Tensions in Canada
The recent clash in Canada during Diwali night adds to the piling troubles between communities.
Tensions among communities in Canada have risen after the Khalistan Referendum in September. Khalistan supporters in the country have openly expressed their separatist ideology, which has been severely opposed by Indian emigrants.
The Khalistan Referendum not only initiated a communal conflict but also resulted in a cold war in Indian and Canadian relations.
The Diplomatic War
Following the Khalistani Referendum, Indian MEA on 23 September issued an advisory to its citizens and students in Canada.
The advisory asked the Indian nationals and students in Canada to “exercise caution and remain vigilant”. The advisory was indirectly seen as an Indian reminder to Canada of Khalistani activities.
The Canadian administration did not keep mum as they retorted with an advisory of their own. The Canadian government on 27 September advised its citizens to avoid visiting border areas of Indian states such as Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The document cited “unpredictable security situation, presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance”.
Weeks after, the Indian High Commission in Canada served as a demarche to PM Justin Trudeau, expressing discontent while urging them to stop the second Khalistani Referendum. The second referendum is set to take place on 6 November 2022.
Amid the diplomatic stand-off between two nations, hate crime incidents against Indians have increased in Canada.
Attacks on Indians
Incidents of hate crime against the Indian community in Canada have increased in recent years.
Khalistan supporters defaced a prominent Hindu Temple in Canada with anti-India slogans. The Indian-origin lawmakers in Canada severely criticised the act. Indian High Commission strongly condemned the incident.
In July this year, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Richmond Hill, Greater Toronto Area, was vandalised. In February, an Indo-Canadian host was attacked by unidentified men after he criticised Khalistan supporters.
In December 2020, an Indian student Vishal Jood was assaulted in Sydney, Australia, by a pro-Khalistani crowd. The Indian youth had interfered when he witnessed an insult to tricolour during the rally.
The crowd assaulted him, and the Australian police even jailed him. Though the, he was released after the interference of the Indian government.
In the last several years, the Khalistan supporters have attempted to re-establish their ideology and movement, which was dealt a severe blow in India during 1990s.
For their activities and propaganda, Khalistan supporters have preferred to operate from Canada. India has always expressed discontent with Canada on the issue, which has fallen on deaf ears. The lack of action on Khalistan separatists by Justin Trudeau is also the major reason for worsening bilateral relations between India and Canada.