Congress condemns ‘glorification’ of Indira Gandhi’s assassination at Canada parade

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday condemned the “glorification” of the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi at a parade in Canada and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why he hasn’t spoken to his Canadian counterpart on the issue.

The Congress also urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to take up strongly with Canadian authorities the inclusion of a float depicting the former prime minister’s assassination in a parade in Brampton.

Asked about the incident at a press conference here, Jaishankar hit out at Canada, saying there was a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, extremists and people who advocate violence.

MS Education Academy

While Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate and general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal hit out at Jaishankar for making a “general comment” on the issue, their party colleague Milind Deora welcomed the minister’s “condemnation of the Canadian tableau that celebrated the assassination of Indira Gandhi”.

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said it is “reprehensible and condemnable” that Prime Minister Modi is silent on the issue and asked whether he is viewing everything with a political motive.

“The assassination of a former prime minister is celebrated and the prime minister of India does not say a single word… Why is the Government of India silent,” he asked.

Perhaps, this is the reason why secessionists are raising their head in Punjab once again, he said.

“Why does the prime minister not talk to his counterpart in Canada? … why has the Canadian ambassador in India not been summoned and a strong protest lodged,” the Congress general secretary asked.

Surjewala said every country should be told that no anti-India campaign will be allowed.

“Will the country’s prime minister see everything with political motives,” he asked.

This is not a partisan issue that the prime minister and his government have chosen to keep quiet. Such incidents have greater ramifications for the peace in Punjab and the rest of the country, he said.

The External Affairs minister should summon the Canadian envoy and lodge a strong protest over the incident, he added.

Surjewala condemned the pro-Khalistan parade in Canada and the “glorification” of Gandhi’s assassination.

Gandhi, former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh and thousands of Congress workers laid down their lives to defend the unity and integrity of the country, he said.

Congress general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal said

Speaking at the press conference, Jaishankar warned Canada against giving space to separatists and extremist elements, saying it was not good for bilateral ties.

“Frankly, we are at a loss to understand other than the requirements of vote bank politics, why anybody would do this.

“Because if you look at their history, you would imagine that they learn from history and they would not like to repeat that history. It is not only one incident, however, egregious it may be,” Jaishankar said.

“I think there is a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence and I think it is not good for relationships and not good for Canada,” he added.

Earlier, Canadian High Commissioner to India Cameron Mackay said he was “appalled” by the reports of the event in his country that “celebrated” the assassination of Gandhi.

“There is no place in Canada for hate or for the glorification of violence. I categorically condemn these activities,” he said in a tweet.

Deora shared on Twitter a purported video, which is doing the rounds on social media, of the float at the Brampton parade depicting Gandhi’s assassination.

“As an Indian, I’m appalled by the 5-km-long parade which took place in the city of Brampton, Canada, depicting the assassination of Indira Gandhi,” the former Union minister said.

“It’s not about taking sides, it’s about respect for a nation’s history and the pain caused by its Prime Minister’s assassination,” Deora said.

This extremism deserves universal condemnation and a united response, he asserted.

Sharing Deora’s tweet, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “I entirely agree! This is despicable and Dr S Jaishankar should take it up strongly with the Canadian authorities.”

Responding to Deora’s tweet, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said, “You are completely right… There should be no politics in condemning this despicable act across party lines.”

In a tweet later, Deora welcomed “Jaishankar ji’s condemnation of the Canadian tableau that celebrated the assassination of Indira Gandhi”.

“In moments when we rise above petty politics and unite as a nation, India wins. It’s crucial to foster a climate which safeguards the dignity of our nation & its leaders,” he said.

Congress spokesperson Shrinate, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s response.

“An Indian prime minister was assassinated by separatist forces. Her assassination is glorified by pro-Khalistan extremists in Canada.

“And all that our government has done is make this one general comment — without even naming Smt Indira Gandhi. Our national interests and security must be above any political concerns. India must take this up officially with the Canadian government,” she said.

Senior Congress leader Venugopal asked why Jaishankar did not unequivocally condemn the “disgusting event of Brampton”.

“Smt. Indira Gandhi ji was one of the tallest leaders in Indian history, who laid down her life to protect India’s sovereignty,” he said.

“In his briefing today, S. Jaishankar gave a general statement, instead of specifically acknowledging Indira ji’s martyrdom. Why did he prevaricate, and not unequivocally condemn the event?

“We demand a strong response from the Prime Minister himself, and the EAM and the Indian High Commission in Canada must take firm steps to convey the anger of 140 crore Indians,” he said.

Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

Back to top button