The Indian flag is seen flying at the High Commission of India in Ottawa (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP)
Brampton/ Toronto: The Indian Community in Canada is concerned over the recent strain in relations between the two countries following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’ allegations regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.
Senior Canadian Journalist Harleem Sadia said that the Indian community has concerns that are very genuine.
She said common people are now finding it difficult to travel to India and Canada. It is difficult for people who lead normal lives, have regular jobs.
Canadian citizen of Indian origin Gurjant Singh said that being a Sikh, both India and Canada are extremely important to him and the recent tensions deeply concern him. Gurjant Singh feels the issue should be resolved through dialogue.
"I am very concerned about the matter and I think everything should be resolved through dialogue. Anything, any issue can be discussed, solved at the table. Both the Indian and Canadian governments should put up their point of views while remaining within their lines, boundaries." he said.
Last week, Justin Trudeau claimed that his country's national security officials had reasons to believe that "agents of the Indian government were behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Nijjar.
"Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar," Trudeau had said.
On Trudeau’s claims, Gurjant said: "Being a Prime Minister, you cannot claim anything that you cannot later prove. Whatever the Canadian PM said was wrong. Now that he has said it, he should be able to support his statement."
Gurjant further said that his parents were supposed to come to Canada in January. "But for now, for this reason, they won’t be coming. But my problem is small when looked at from a larger scale," he said.
He further said that any demands should be made within the line, by keeping control on "our language, emotions."
Meanwhile, Canadian citizen Ajaib Singh has said relations between the two countries should get better for the sake of Indian students studying in Canada.
"Students come to Canada for a better future. They study here, get good jobs and also become residents here. Parents also want their children to have a better future in Canada. Some also go back to India after their studies. They also go back for a better future," Ajaib said.
"For the sake of these students, I pray that relations between India, Canada get better," he said.
He added that India, Canada should resolve their issues at the table and that visa ban is not the solution, innocent people should not be punished. "I urge the leaders of both countries to sit at the table, resolve the issue amicably," he said.
India on Thursday said that security threats being faced by the country’s High Commission and Consulates in Canada have disrupted their normal functioning and they are temporarily unable to process visa applications.
Answering queries during the weekly press conference, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the issue is the incitement of violence, inaction by Canadian authorities and the creation of an environment that "disrupts the functioning of our consulates".
The remarks came hours after visa services provider BLS International said that it has with immediate effect suspended Indian visa services in Canada.
Ajaib said "The future in unclear right now, we don’t know which statement will come which day. The faster the issues get resolved, the better."
Senior Canadian journalist Tahir Gora said he wants the Indian community’s opinion to be brought forward on the India-Canada diplomatic standoff.
"Right now, there is a strain in India, Canada relations. We want that the Indian community’s opinion should be brought forward. The people understand that this issue will stretch for a long time We want to know what the current situation is and if it will deteriorate in the coming days," he said.
Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair has urged India, Canada to start talking to find a common ground in view of the recent strain in relations, CBC News reported.
"I really want [the two countries I love] to start talking. I know once they start talking, once they really want to help their citizens, I'm pretty sure they'll find common ground to make friends," Blair said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live on CBC News which aired on Sunday.