History Professor Chinnaiah Jangam was recently interviewed as part of a CBC article entitled “Indian government warns of rise in hate crimes, ‘anti-India activities’ in Canada“. A short excerpt is included below with the full article available online.
The Indian government says there’s been a rise in “hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities” in Canada and is warning Indian nationals in the country, including students, to be on the alert.
The news release issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Friday did not say what prompted the warning. It said the ministry and Indian diplomats have brought several incidents to the attention of Canadian authorities. It also said the alleged perpetrators have not been brought to justice.
“In view of the increasing incidences of crimes as described above, Indian nationals and students from India in Canada and those proceeding to Canada for travel/education are advised to exercise due caution and remain vigilant,” the release said.
The release also did not point to any data or evidence of an increase in hate crimes.
CBC News has reached out to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for more details but has not received a response. A number of Canadian federal government departments also have not responded to CBC’s queries.
Chinnaiah Jangam, an associate professor of history at Carleton University who specializes in South Asia, said the threat to Indian nationals alleged in the advisory is exaggerated.
“Though there is a right-wing extremism asserting [itself in Canada], I don’t think there is any threat to any minorities here,” Jangam told CBC News.
He said the target audience for the advisory may not be Indian nationals in Canada but rather supporters of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — as well as BJP and Modi critics abroad.
“Most importantly, the issue of the statement has domestic implications in Indian politics,” Jangam said.
“It is for consumption of [Modi’s] own vote base in India, and also to basically suppress any sort of dissent toward India in North America.”