India on Thursday stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of killing Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The Indian government said this is a temporary measure due to a “security threat” to Indian embassies and consulates in Canada which has blocked the normal conduct of their work, which is why they are “temporarily unable to process visa applications ». Issuing Canadian visas to Indian citizens is still possible, but Canada said it was reducing its staff in India after some diplomats received threats on social media.
On Monday evening the Canadian government had accused “agents of the Government of India” of involvement in the murder in June of Nijjar, one of the main supporters of the Sikh separatist movement for the foundation of Khalistan, a sovereign state which according to the movement should be founded in Punjab , an Indian region bordering Pakistan. India had rejected the accusation, calling it “absurd” and tension between the two nations has risen in recent days, but relations between the two countries have been strained for some time.
Sikh separatism has also on other occasions been a source of tension between India and countries hosting large communities of Sikh people, such as Canada, as the Indian government has always considered the movement a threat to its national security.