On March 27, in the city of Edmonton, Canada, the Indo-Canadian community was celebrating the Holi festival. However, the celebrations were disrupted by the protesters opposing the three Agriculture Laws passed by the Indian government in September last year.
As per Hindustan Times’ report, over 400 people had gathered at the Heritage Valley Park in Edmonton, a city in the province of Alberta, to celebrate Holi. The event was organised by the Bharatiya Multicultural and Heritage Society of Alberta. A Peace and Harmony Indo-Canadian Tiranga Yatra was also planned on the day.
While they gathered at the Park, a group of around 100 protesters barged and started shouting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government. They also blocked the route on which the Tiranga Yatra was supposed to take place. The event was delayed for around three hours.
Khalistani flags were spotted at the scene
The organisers of the event alleged that some protesters were carrying Khalistani flags. Reports suggest that a Khalistani group Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (Canada), also sent out a message saying that the rally was to “demonise the farmers’ protest in India.”
“You are a rodent in front of Bhindranwale” – protester screamed at the participants
A video that Punjab Spectrum uploaded on Youtube showed the protesters blocking the route of Tiranga Yatra. While organizers were trying to get the route cleared, an argument erupted between them and the protesters. One of the protester who was recording the video said, “Bhindranwale de saamne tu chuha lagda ae (You are a rodent in front of Bhindranwale).” Another protester was heard saying, ”Bhindranwale di tan jutti de jaisa vi nahi hai (You are not even equivalent to the slippers of Bhindranwale)”.
There was no political agenda behind the rally, claimed organisers
The organisers of the Holi event said that there was no political agenda behind the rally. “This was an expression of solidarity in the community as we haven’t been able to gather together to celebrate our festivals for over a year due to Covid-19,” they added. “The permission to hold the event and the car rally was taken weeks earlier from the city and the police,” the organisers added.
The organiser further added that it had been a year since all of them had met, and it was a great opportunity for them to catch up with the loved ones. However, the protesters spoilt the day. “We have been separated for a year, and we were looking forward to being together, but these nearly 100 protesters spoilt the day for some of us,” they said.
The event was delayed by three hours
The organiser said that the rally was supposed to start at 1 PM (local time). However, the protesters blocked the route, and the event was delayed by three hours. The Police were at the spot, and they cordoned off the protesters from the event, but it took time for them to get the area cleared for the rally. There were around 250 cars that took part in the rally. Both Indian and Canadian flags were flown during the rally, and it lasted for about an hour.
Similar Tiranga Yatra was disrupted in February
A similar Tiranga Yatra was organised in February 2021, which was also disrupted by the pro-Khalistani protesters. There were reports of violence during that incident. The participants of the previous rally were assaulted and harassed, which could be seen in several videos that surfaced on social media. The protesters also disrespected Indian National Flag during the Tiranga-Maple Rally in the Greater Toronto Area. In the aftermath of the violence, Jodhveer Dhaliwal, brother-in-law of New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh and one other person were arrested.