Ottawa/New Delhi In a high-profile move, Canada’s prime minister accuses the Indian government of murdering a Canadian citizen. “In recent weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a possible link between Indian government agents and the murder of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said in the Canadian Parliament on Monday (local time).
Nijjar, a well-known supporter of an independent Sikh state on Indian territory, was shot dead in June outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. India immediately rejected the allegations.
“The allegations that the Indian government is involved in acts of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday. India also expels a Canadian diplomat.
The Indian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the Canadian diplomat must leave the country within five days. “The decision reflects the Indian government’s increasing concerns about interference by Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs and their involvement in anti-India activities,” it said.
Such “baseless allegations” are an attempt to divert the focus from terrorists and extremists of the so-called Khalistan movement who have found shelter in Canada and are threatening India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Trudeau: Hold perpetrators accountable
“The Government of Canada’s inaction on this matter has long been a concern,” it added. “We urge the Canadian government to take immediate and effective action against all anti-India elements operating from its soil.”
There are many people of Indian origin living in Canada. A particularly large number of them belong to the Sikh religious community. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently expressed his opposition to the so-called Khalistan movement, to which Nijjar was a member, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi without directly being named. This promoted secessionism and incited violence against Indian diplomats, Modi said, according to his office.
“Every step must be taken to bring the perpetrators of this murder to justice,” Trudeau continued. Ottawa has expressed deep concern to senior intelligence and security circles in the Indian government. At the G20 summit, he also spoke directly to Modi about the incident.
“I continue to urge the Indian government to work with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter,” Trudeau said. The Canadian Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of a senior Indian diplomat.
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