Canada ‘temporarily’ adjusts diplomatic staff in India after social media threats

News Network
September 21, 2023

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New Delhi, Sept 21: Canada's high commission in India said on Thursday that it has decided to temporarily "adjust" staff presence in the country after some diplomats received threats on social media platforms, adding to spiralling tensions between the two countries.

The statement from the high commission came soon after an Indian company published a notice that it was suspending visa services for Canadian citizens following a notice from the Indian mission. It then withdrew it minutes later before re-publishing it again.

BLS International, an Indian company offering visa facilities, said on Wednesday the notice from the Indian mission in Canada cited "operational reasons" for suspension of visa services "till further notice".

Spokespersons for the Canadian high commission and the Indian foreign ministry did not respond to queries on the two developments.

Tensions between the two countries escalated earlier this week when Canada said that it was "actively pursuing credible allegations" linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government categorically rejected Canada's suspicions that Indian agents had links to the alleged murder.

With both nations expelling a diplomat each, analysts said relations between the two countries have touched the lowest point.

"In light of the current environment where tensions have heightened, we are taking action to ensure the safety of our diplomats," the Canadian high commission said in a statement.

"With some diplomats having received threats on various social media platforms, Global Affairs Canada is assessing its staff complement in India," it said, referring to the Canadian government department which manages Ottawa's diplomatic and consular relations.

"As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily adjust staff presence in India," it said, without elaborating on what it meant by adjusting staff presence.

"In the context of respect for obligations under the Vienna conventions, we expect India to provide for the security of our accredited diplomats and consular officers in India, just as we are for theirs here."

After the tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats, the two countries issued tit-for-tat travel advisories on Tuesday and Wednesday, with India urging its nationals in Canada, especially students, to exercise "utmost caution".

THREAT TO TRADE TIES

The tensions were sparked on Monday after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa was investigating "credible allegations" about the potential involvement of Indian government agents in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.

Canadian officials have so far declined to say why they believe India could be linked to Nijjar's murder.

New Delhi has also not provided evidence or details of specific incidents leading to its travel advisory that refers to "growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada".

Canada is a safe country, its public safety minister Dominic LeBlanc said hours after India's advisory.

Canada has the largest population of Sikhs outside the Indian state of Punjab, with about 770,000 people reporting Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 census.

Some Indian analysts say Ottawa does not curb Sikh protesters as they are a politically influential group.

The spat is also threatening trade ties, with talks on a proposed trade deal frozen last week.

Canada is India's 17th largest foreign investor, pouring in more than $3.6 billion since 2000, while Canadian portfolio investors have invested billions of dollars in Indian stock and debt markets.

Since 2018, India has been the largest source country for international students in Canada.

In 2022, their number rose 47% to nearly 320,000, accounting for about 40% of total overseas students, the Canadian Bureau of International Education says, which also helps universities and colleges provide a subsidised education to domestic students.

Industry estimates show the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Canada and India could boost two-way trade by as much as $6.5 billion, yielding a GDP gain of $3.8 billion to $5.9 billion for Canada by 2035.
 

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News Network
November 20,2023

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Bengaluru, Nov 20: As his government completed six months in office on Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said his administration has taken decisive steps to reduce corruption and initiated thorough investigations in various cases.

He said his government is committed to building a state that not only meets the immediate needs of its people, but also lays the foundation for a prosperous future.

In the elections to the 224-member Assembly held in May this year, the Congress ousted the BJP from power with a landslide victory. The Congress got 135 seats to BJP's 66.

"As the Chief Minister of Karnataka, it brings me immense pride to mark the completion of six months of our government's tenure. In this short span, we have been steadfast in our commitment to empower the people of Karnataka and craft a sustainable and progressive future for our state," Siddaramaiah said in a statement.

"Our governance model, the New Karnataka Model, is a testament to this commitment. It is a model that intertwines the welfare of people with holistic development. We have introduced pioneering guarantee schemes that have directly impacted lives," he added.

Noting that the Shakthi scheme, providing free bus travel for women, is not just a travel subsidy; it's an investment in women's empowerment and mobility, the Chief Minister said, similarly, the Gruha Jyothi (200 units of free power to all households) and Anna Bhagya (additional 5 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household) schemes have lightened the financial burden of countless households, ensuring that basic needs like electricity and food are not a luxury but a right.

Moreover, the Gruha Lakshmi scheme (Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family) has been a groundbreaking step in supporting women who head BPL families, ensuring they have the financial resources to lead their families with dignity, he said, adding that, the Yuva Nidhi scheme, (Rs 3,000 every month for graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for diploma holders) offering unemployment allowances, is a safety net for our youth, sustaining their dreams and ambitions during challenging times.

"Central to our governance is our unwavering stand against corruption. We have taken decisive steps to reduce corruption and initiated thorough investigations in various cases," Siddaramaiah further said. This commitment to transparency and accountability is reshaping the government's relationship with its people, fostering trust and confidence.

"As we step into the future, our focus remains steadfast on creating a Karnataka that is inclusive, progressive, and a beacon of development. We are committed to building a state that not only meets the immediate needs of its people but also lays the foundation for a prosperous future," he said.

"I thank the people of Karnataka for their unwavering faith in our vision and promise to continue working tirelessly to make Karnataka a model state in India," the CM added. 

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News Network
November 27,2023

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Tumakuru, Nov 27: In a tragic incident a family of five, including three children, died by suicide, which was allegedly triggered by debt and harassment by neighbours in the Sadashivanagar area of Tumakuru city in Karnataka on Sunday. 

The deceased family elder Garib Saab (36) left a poignant death note addressed to his grandmother, detailing the family's struggles and the reasons behind their extreme step.

According to police, the deceased family hailed from Lakkanahalli in Shira taluk of Tumakuru district. The deceased have been identified as Garib Saab (32) his wife Sumayya (30), their daughter Hazira, and sons Mohammed Suban and Mohammed Muneer.

Earlier, Garib wrote a chilling note to his great-grandmother about his plan to die by suicide. He wrote about his debt and also mentioned that his neighbours were harassing his family. He demanded that the Home Minister should punish them according to the law. "We are losing our lives to the harassment of the neighbours," he wrote in the note.

Garib Saab has written the names of family members and wrote that everything is on the mobile phone, police said.

Tumakur SP Ashok KV said, "We got information that five people committed suicide in the same house. After a few minutes, we reached the place. Two bodies were found hanging. The bodies of three children were found on the bed. The deceased persons were from Lakkanahalli of Shira taluk. Garib Saab wrote a death note before he died. He also sent a video message to his relatives. We will check what information it contains. We will take action based on the video and the complaint."

Saab stayed at Tumakuru to educate his children. The deceased have blamed mental harassment by Kalandar, who stays below their house in a video purportedly recorded by them.

“We were harassed by neighbours led by Kalandar. Those responsible for this suicide should get their due. Don’t conduct post-mortem on our bodies,” the video said. 

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News Network
November 28,2023

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Bengaluru, Nov 28: The probe into the foeticide racket that recently came to light in Bengaluru has led to shocking revelations as the accused told the police that they had aborted 3,000 female foetuses so far. 

Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayanand told reporters on Tuesday that the investigations have shown that the accused had carried out 3,000 abortions so far and in the last three months itself, 242 female foetuses were killed.

The accused had set a target of 1,000 abortions per year to make money as they charged anywhere between Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per termination of pregnancy. The scam came to light when Byappanahalli police, on October 15, tried to stop a vehicle moving suspiciously. The vehicle’s driver did not stop and had to be chased by the police before being caught.

During interrogation the accused spilled the beans about the abortion racket. The police have arrested nine people till now, including two doctors and three lab technicians for their involvement in the nefarious activity.

Two of the arrested were also found to be involved in a kidnapping case, Commissioner Dayanand stated. Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara has stated that the investigation into the case will be completed soon and everything will come out in the open.

The probe also revealed that abortions were conducted at a jaggery production unit in Mandya district where the accused had set up a lab and related facilities. Mandya Assistant Commissioner Shivamurthy stated that the jaggery production unit has been seized as per the orders of the District Commissioner.

According to police sources, two doctors - Chandan Ballal and Tulasiram - were the prime movers of the foeticide racket. Dr Ballal, who ran Mata hospital in Mysuru, was arrested last Friday last from a farmhouse in KR Pet. Though most of the abortion deals were struck at Mata hospital, the procedures would be performed at an ayurveda hospital nearby. Dr Ballal’s wife Meena Ballal and receptionist are also among the nine arrested. 

The other arrested in the case are Shivalingegowda from Mysuru, Nayan Kumar and Naveen Kumar from Mandya district, and TM Veeresh of Davangere district. The police have also taken Sunanda, wife of Shivalingegowda, into custody. Another prime accused Dr Mallikarjun, and his associate Siddesh were absconding. 

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