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Visa application agency in Canada says visa services suspended

India today suspended visa issuance in Canada amid a diplomatic standoff sparked by Ottowa’s accusation of New Delhi’s involvement in the killing of a Sikh separatist near Vancouver, according to Bloomberg.

BLS International posted on their website on Thursday:

“Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded that India take “seriously” allegations that Indian agents were involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. This prompted a retaliatory diplomatic expulsion and a strong rebuttal from India, which said any suggestion that it played a role in Nijjar’s murder was “absurd”.

The suspension of visas comes a day after India’s foreign ministry said it was concerned for the safety of its citizens in Canada because of “politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence”. A ministry statement said yesterday:

“Threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda. Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents.”

The advisory do not name specific cities or places that Indians are not advised to visit.

Nijjar was shot dead by two masked assailants outside the Sikh temple he presided over in Surrey, an outer suburb of Vancouver. Nijjar favoured the establishment of a Sikh state known as Khalistan. Nijjar was wanted by Indian authorities on charges of terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder. He denied the charges, according to the World Sikh Organisation of Canada, a non-profit organisation that protects the interests of Canadian Sikhs.

The Indian government has criticised Ottawa for failing to respond to the activities of radical Sikh nationalists who advocate an independent Sikh state to be carved out of northern India.

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