Khalistani menace seen on Canadian streets as Starbucks employee pays the price
While India had warned Canada many times about the influence that pro-Khalistani supporters hold in that country, the North American country had long ignored India’s concerns.
It was this ignorance from the authorities that cost the life of a Canadian national when an Indian-origin man, suspected to be a Khalistani sympathiser, stabbed a man who worked at a Starbucks outlet in Vancouver.
The victim was identified as 37-year-old Paul Stanley Schmidt. Schmidt’s wife and young daughter were reportedly present at the site of the incident.
According to the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), suspect Inderdeep Singh Gosal was detained at the scene after bystanders flagged down a VPD officer in the neighbourhood.
Thirty-two-year-old Gosal has been charged with second-degree murder. He was seen attending pro-Khalistani rallies in Canada outside the Indian High Commission.
Sharing the details, the Vancouver police said that the stabbing occurred around 5.40 pm, local time, outside the Starbucks coffee shop following a brief altercation between two men.
While the circumstances that led up to the fatal stabbing remain under investigation, the investigators believe that the suspect and victim are not believed to have known each other.
According to the VPD, while officers administered first aid, Schmidt died after he was rushed to the hospital.
“We believe this homicide was witnessed by dozens of bystanders, and there may be people with information who have not yet come forward,” a police official said.
“We particularly want to hear from anyone who was present in the moments before the stabbing or anyone who has cell phone video of the incident,” he added.
The Khalistani movement has a strong presence on North American soil, with many organisations that owe their allegiance to the movement having their bases in Canada, which has a sizeable Sikh population.
However, things took an ugly turn after India lodged a strong protest with Canada after pro-Khalistan groups targeted Indian missions in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
This comes against the backdrop of the Khalistan referendum in September last year. Over one lakh Canadian Sikhs took part in the voting for the referendum in Ontario’s Brampton.
The referendum was organised by the pro-Khalistani radical group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which is banned in India for its anti-India activities, including the use of violence against Indian citizens.