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India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma, held a meeting with a local trade board in British Columbia, Canada, on Friday. The event, however, was marked by tense circumstances as the venue was surrounded by pro-Khalistan elements protesting Verma’s visit.

This marked Verma’s first visit to Surrey since the June 2023 killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent figure within the pro-Khalistan community. The planned meeting reportedly faced attempts by protestors to disrupt it.

Despite the disruptions, Verma later described the event as “successful” and “well-organized” while acknowledging the anticipated protests. He further stated that he was subjected to verbal abuse and that the Indian flag was disregarded during the demonstrations.

The call for the protest originated from the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which has a history of targeting Indian officials. SFJ’s general counsel, Gurpatwant Pannun, even went so far as to label Surrey a “war zone” and vowed continued action against Verma.