The Indian government has, however, rejected Canada’s claims. These allegations is likely to further deteriorate India-Canada relations, which are already at an all-time low due to rising Khalistani activity in Canada.
“Over the past number of weeks Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said in an emergency statement to the House of Commons.The startling accusation was followed by the Canadian foreign minister, Melanie Joly, stating that a high-ranking Indian diplomat has been expelled over the killing.
“The head of Indian intelligence in Canada has been expelled as a consequence. If proven true, this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other,” Joly said. “As a consequence we have expelled a top Indian diplomat.”
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Public Safety minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada’s national security advisor and the head of Canada’s spy service have travelled to India to meet their counterparts and to confront the Indian intelligence agencies with the allegations.
He called it an active homicide investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Joly added that Trudeau also raised the matter with US President Joe Biden.
Opposition Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said if the allegations are true they represent ”an outrageous affront to our sovereignty”.
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‘Raised concerns with PM Modi’
“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons.
The Canadian PM said he had raised his concerns “personally and directly” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the G20 summit last week in Delhi, about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said, adding: “It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves.”
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Nijjar was a prominent Sikh leader in the province of BC and a vocal backer of a separate Khalistani state. Supporters of his have said that he was a target of threats in the past because of his activism.
India has previously said he was a terrorist and led a militant separatist group. Hailing from Bharsinghpur village in Punjab’s Jalandhar, Nijjar was based in Surrey and had been declared “absconder” by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
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In July last year, the NIA had announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on Nijjar in connection with the killing of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar.
Trudeau said Canada has expressed its concerns to high level security and intelligence agencies in India, and said he has been working on this issue with Canada’s allies. “I continue to ask with a great deal of firmness that the government of India cooperate with Canada to shed light on this situation,” he said.
Trudeau’s remarks come after he and PM Modi had a tense meeting last week during the G20 summit in India.
During the meeting, PM Modi had accused Canada of not doing enough to quell “anti-India activities of extremist elements”, referring to the rise of the Sikh separatist movement on Canadian soil.
(With inputs from agencies)
Trudeau finally leaves for Canada, a visit marred by criticism from Modi, technical snag