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Demonstrators burn Indian flag at Vancouver consulate months after murder

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Protesters waving Khalistan flags took to the street outside the Indian consulate in downtown Vancouver Saturday, with a handful burning and cutting Indian flags to mark eight months since the killing of a Surrey man outside a gurdwara.

Several people made statements, primarily in Punjabi, on loudspeakers, broadcasting the remarks loudly to the consulate above them, including cries of “shame on India.”

The area was blocked off by Vancouver police, who had at least two dozen officers on hand monitoring the demonstration on Howe Street.

“This is a peaceful protest, this is not violent,” said Manjhinder Singh, one of the co-organizers of the event.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surprised observers in the fall when he told the House of Commons that the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar may be linked to the Indian government. Nijjar’s son later claimed the Surrey businessman had been meeting with CSIS weekly before he was gunned down on June 18 of last year.

Nijjar was a supporter of the separatist movement seeking independence for the Punjab region of India, where the Sikh religion is dominant.

The Indian government has repeatedly denied any involvement in Nijjar’s killing, with diplomatic relations between that nation and Canada strained as a result. 

The allegations, however, gained renewed interest and legitimacy when US officials charged an Indian citizen with plotting to murder a Khalistan supporter in New York City in a case linked to Nijjar. 

Several attendees told CTV News that they expected the demonstration to attract negative attention from the Indian government, but that they wouldn’t be intimidated into silence.

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