Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat on Monday as it investigates what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called credible claims that the Asian country’s government may have been linked to the killing of a Sikh activist on Canadian soil.
Justin Trudeau said in his country’s parliament that Canadian intelligence agencies were investigating allegations after Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen who was a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan, was shot dead on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
“In recent weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively investigating credible allegations of a possible link between Indian government agents and the murder of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” the Prime Minister said.
Trudeau added that he mentioned the assassination in his conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-20 summit last week, that he told him that any involvement by the Indian government in the incident was unacceptable, and that he India asked for cooperation in the investigation. Investigation.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said the head of Indian intelligence in Canada was subsequently expelled. “If this turns out to be true, it would be a major violation of our sovereignty and the most fundamental rule of how countries treat each other,” Joly said. “As a result, we have expelled a senior Indian diplomat.”
Canada requests India’s cooperation to get to the bottom of the matter
Trudeau said his government had worked closely with and coordinated with Canada’s allies on the case.
“I continue to urge the Indian government to work with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.
Trudeau said he knew there were some members of the Indian-Canadian community who were angry or scared and called for calm.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada’s national security adviser and the head of Canada’s spy agency traveled to India to meet with their counterparts and confront the allegations with Indian intelligence agencies.
He called it an active murder investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Joly said Trudeau also raised the issue with U.S. President Joe Biden.
Conservative opposition leader Pierre Poilievre said that if the allegations were true, they represented “a scandalous attack on our sovereignty.”
The Khalistan movement is banned in India, where officials consider it and its affiliated groups a threat to national security. But the movement still enjoys some support in northern India and beyond in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, which are home to large Sikh diasporas.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada called Nijjar an outspoken supporter of Khalistan who “often led peaceful protests against human rights abuses taking place in India and in support of Khalistan.”
“Nijjar had spoken publicly for months about the threat to his life and said he was a target of Indian intelligence agencies,” the statement said.
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