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SOURCE: IANS

In a video clip that has now gone viral on social media, Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is seen struggling for answers when asked about the Canadian Parliament paying tribute to slain Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar even though the government led by Justin Trudeau put him on a ‘no-fly’ list and also had his bank accounts frozen long before his assassination.The video, which shows Freeland taking questions at an event, generated quite a bit of interest on a day when India made it clear once again that it will continue to highlight and oppose the political space that has been given in Canada to separatism, extremism, and violence.

“We naturally oppose any moves of giving political space to extremism and those advocating violence,” Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry, told the media in New Delhi.

The MEA spokesperson was responding to a question on the Canadian Parliament observing silence on the first death anniversary of Sikh radical Nijjar, earlier this week.

In the viral video clip, Freeland, who has also earlier served as the Foreign Minister of Canada, was asked why the Trudeau government put Nijjar on a ‘no-fly’ list and even froze his bank accounts while he was alive.

“It was important to have a moment of silence to recognise that this was a murder of a Canadian in Canada and on Canadian soil. That is entirely unacceptable,” Freeland said.

The clip then showed the Canadian minister continuing to praise Trudeau for taking a strong stance on the issue, without answering the queries raised on Nijjar.

“I was very proud of the Prime Minister and of the strong position he took after the murder. It was the right thing to do but not an easy thing. He (Trudeau) made it clear that for the Government of Canada, all Canadians are the same, all Canadians have the same rights, and murder on Canadian soil is just not allowed and the government of Canada will enforce our laws and protect all Canadians regardless of who is threatening us or what the consequences would be,” Freeland said.

Pro-Khalistan elements continue to spread anti-India feelings through their extremist statements and activities in Canada even as the Indian government has repeatedly expressed its deep concern and strong protest at the disturbing actions being allowed to continue unchecked in the country.

Last month, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar slammed the Trudeau government for giving refuge to pro-Khalistani elements, asserting that further deterioration in bilateral ties would eventually result in a big loss for Canada.

“Freedom of speech cannot be freedom to advocate violence, freedom of speech cannot be freedom to support separatism and terrorism in a foreign country. It cannot be… A group of Khalistanis have been misusing Canada’s freedom laws for years. But when the Canadian government has any political compulsions, they accommodate these people who are also their vote bank,” Jaishankar said while speaking at a ‘Vishwabandhu Bharat’ interaction session in Nashik.

New Delhi has conveyed to Ottawa on several occasions that democratic countries that respect the rule of law should not allow intimidation by radical elements in the name of freedom of expression.

“Our relations have been spoiled today because of the activities of these people who are even threatening our Ambassador and various diplomats posted in the country. They threw smoke bombs inside the High Commission and, at one time, our diplomats were facing great difficulty in getting out of the building. People who supported terror activities against India have been given refuge in Canada. The government there should have a relook at the entire situation,” Jaishankar said.