External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday strongly criticised Canada after visuals of a parade float depicting the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in that country's Brampton city surfaced, wondering 'why it gives space to extremists'.
Addressing a press conference to highlight achievements of the Centre in the last nine years in terms of foreign policy, Jaishankar said in response to the incident, "I don't know why Canada does this. Giving space to extremist elements is not good for it."
"Frankly, we are at a loss to understand other than the requirements of vote bank politics why anybody would do this. I think there is a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence," he added.
To another query on a Canadian government official blaming India of meddling in its affairs, Jaishankar quipped, "Rather we have complaints against Canada on the space it gives to Khalistani elements. It is like the saying in Hindi - 'Ulta chor kotwal ko daante'."
The minister went on to add that such incidents of Khalistani elements creating ruckus have also occurred in many other countries like the UK and Australia.
"Our request to all these nations is that they should not be taken seriously, as these are marginal elements and are a small minority," Jaishankar said.
Meanwhile on the issue of many Indian students facing deportation in Canada due to fraudulent admissions, Jaishankar said that they should not be penalised for someone else's crime.
The external affairs minister said the students took admission and studied at those colleges in good faith and it is "unfair to punish" them.
"For some time now, there is this case of students, who the Canadians say did not study in the college in which they should have, and when they applied for a work permit, they got into difficulties," Jaishankar said.
Hundreds of Indian students, mainly from Punjab, are facing deportation from Canada after the authorities there, found "admission offer letters" to educational institutions to be fake.
"From the very start, we have taken up this case and our point is, the students studied in good faith. If there were people who misled them, the culpable parties should be acted against. It is unfair to punish a student who undertook their education in good faith. I think the Canadians also accept that it would be unfair if a student has done no wrong. We will continue to press," Jaishankar added.