Khalistani terrorists outside the consulate general of India in Toronto

RCMP said it was working with its Five Eyes partners to respond to security threats

THE STORM IN INDIA-CANADA ties refuses to abate with rising threats from pro-Khalistani extremists on Canadian soil. New Delhi is upset with Canada’s inaction, while Ottawa continues to blame “Indian agents’’ for the June 18 killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. The past few months have seen exit of diplomats from both countries, threats to Indian missions and diplomats in Canada, and a sharp rise in warnings about terror attacks on Indian soil. The latest was the open threat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders by the US-based lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, adviser to the banned Sikhs for Justice organisation.

We are committed to working in partnership with both domestic and foreign agencies to keep Canadians safe and secure.

Q: There is worry among Indian diplomats in Canada about their safety after repeated threats by pro-Khalistani radicals.

For embassies and consular offices, Canada has the responsibility under the Vienna Convention to ensure the inviolability of foreign missions in Canada. The response to, and investigation of, any criminal acts or public order matters that occur in the vicinity of missions would fall to the local police of jurisdiction. RCMP protection is extended to select foreign diplomatic personnel residing in Canada, as per Article 22, based on assessments of threat and risk. For the safety of those we protect as well as our members, and to ensure the integrity of our operations, the RCMP does not disclose information about specific protective measures.

Q: Is not Sikhs for Justice founder Gurpatwant Singh Pannun a risk to public safety after he threatened Hindus on Canadian soil and also issued threats against Indian leaders and Air India passengers?

RCMP investigations target criminal activity of any individual(s) who threaten the safety and security of Canadians. The RCMP is committed to working in partnership with both domestic and foreign agencies to keep Canadians safe and secure, and to protect Canadian interests at home and abroad. We remain vigilant about potential threats and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.

What steps are being taken in view of repeated threats being made by Pannun against Hindus in Canada?

The safety and security of our citizens, regardless of their background or beliefs, remains a top priority for the RCMP. We have strong relationships with Canada’s security and intelligence community and law enforcement agencies around the world. In particular, the RCMP works closely with its Five Eyes partners to respond to, and maintain, situational awareness of all threats to national security. We are committed to working in partnership with both domestic and foreign agencies to keep Canadians safe and secure, and to protect Canadian interests.

Any threats made towards Canadian citizens are taken seriously and investigated as warranted. The RCMP enforces the Criminal Code of Canada, and provincial or territorial and municipal statutes where it is the contracted police of jurisdiction. In parts of the country where the RCMP does not have primary jurisdiction for policing, municipal or provincial police services hold the mandate. We will not tolerate any form of intimidation, harassment, or harmful targeting of communities or individuals in Canada.

Are there concerns in Canada about misuse of religious places to raise funds to fuel separatist activities in India?

The RCMP does not investigate movements or ideologies, and will investigate the criminal activity of any individuals who threaten the safety and security of Canadians.

Are you working closely with Indian security agencies to address concerns of weapons trafficking, drug trade and criminal activities in both countries?

The RCMP does not comment on potential or ongoing investigations here in Canada, or in other countries. We work closely with our international partners and maintain strong relationships with law enforcement agencies around the world. The RCMP’s assistance in international matters is always conducted with due diligence and in accordance with established policies and procedures in Canada.

India has approached Interpol for action against Pannun. A Red Notice is already issued against gangster Goldy Brar who is in Canada.

In order to assist any foreign authority, the RCMP must first receive an official request and supporting documentation through the appropriate channels. Interpol is the first point of contact for many countries pursuing an international investigation. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and potentially effect the provisional arrest of a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action. A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant. The individuals are wanted by the requesting member country. Member countries apply their own laws in deciding whether to arrest a person.

Once the RCMP is made aware of an individual through those channels, it will use a number of assessment tools to determine whether there is any indication of criminality, whether the criminality is within our mandate and what risk they may pose. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot comment on individual cases. The RCMP is aware of the reports involving Brar and will not provide any further comment at this time.