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Canada ‘temporarily’ suspends consular services in India in wake of murder of Sikh leader

Canada ‘temporarily’ suspends consular services in India in wake of murder of Sikh leader

 
- 41 Canadian diplomats leave amid escalating diplomatic dispute with India
 

By Alperen Aktas

ISTANBUL (AA) - Canada “temporarily” suspended in-person operation in consulate services Friday amid a diplomatic dispute after a Sikh leader was murdered in British Columba.

“The Consulates General of Canada in Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai are temporarily suspending in-person operations,” said the Canadian Embassy.

Canada pulled 41 diplomats from India after New Delhi threatened to strip them of diplomatic immunity, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said at a news conference Thursday.

Joly said having their “immunity stripped” by India on the Oct. 20 deadline would put Canadian diplomats at risk.

“This means our diplomats and their families have left,” she said. Diplomatic immunity is a shield that protects diplomats serving abroad from being arrested and is guaranteed under international law.

The Indian Foreign Ministry rejected “any attempt to portray the implementation of parity as a violation of international norms.”

“Our actions in implementing this parity are fully consistent with Article 11.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” it said Friday.

Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead June 18, near a Sikh temple in Surrey, in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia.

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that there are "credible allegations" that the Indian government was behind the shooting.

Nijjar was a vocal supporter of independence for a Khalistani state in the Punjab region.

The Indian government has repeatedly insisted that Nijjar was a terrorist -- a label his supporters deny -- and at the recent G-20 summit in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chided Trudeau for allowing Sikh separatist protests in Canada.

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