Justin Trudeau says India may have been involved in assassination of Sikh leader | ET REALITY


Receive free updates from Canada

Canada’s prime minister said there are “credible allegations” that the Indian government was involved in the shooting death of a prominent Sikh leader in British Columbia, citing intelligence from national security services.

Justin Trudeau told members of parliament on Monday that Canadian Authorities were investigating whether “agents” from New Delhi were behind the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh community.

“Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between Indian government agents and the murder of a Canadian citizen,” Trudeau said. “Any involvement by a foreign government in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

A senior Indian diplomat was also expelled from Canada on Monday, said Mélanie Joly, the country’s foreign minister. “We will protect Canadians at all times,” Joly told reporters. “We hope that India will cooperate fully to get to the bottom of this matter.”

Trudeau was in India last week for the G20 summit and told parliament that he raised the allegations with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The measures taken from Ottawa may worsen the already tense relationship between the two countries. Last week, Canada’s Trade Minister postponed a trade mission to Mumbai scheduled for October without giving any reason.

Canada is home to nearly 800,000 Sikhs, many of whom live in Surrey and Brampton, a suburb outside Toronto. Some Sikh Canadians support the Khalistan independence movement, which would create a sovereign state in Punjab, in the northern part of India. The Indian government is strongly opposed to the movement.

Modi, often described as a Hindu nationalist, spoke with Trudeau last week at the G20 summit. Modi’s office subsequently described the pro-Khalistan protests in Canada as “promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic facilities and threatening the Indian community in Canada.”

The Indian government accused Najjar, a Sikh nationalist, of terrorism and blacklisted him. He has also offered rewards for his arrest. In 2016, Najjar wrote a letter to Trudeau calling India’s accusations baseless and saying his activism was “peaceful, democratic and protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

After Najjar was murdered on the grounds of the gurdwara – a Sikh place of worship – where he was president, the World Sikh Organization of Canada called his death a “murder” and urged Ottawa to investigate India’s role in the murder. British Columbia police said last month they had identified three suspects in the murder, although they were not identified. No arrests have been made.

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada and a Sikh, said on X, formerly Twitter, that he would leave “no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice, including holding Narendra Modi accountable.”

Leave a Comment