Trudeau asserts that ‘credible accusations’ link India to the assassination of a Sikh leader in Canada

ISLAMABAD: Canadian authorities are actively pursuing “credible accusations” that establish connections between agents of the Indian government and the assassination of a prominent Sikh leader within Canada’s borders, announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

During a session in the House of Commons on Monday, Trudeau shared that he had conveyed his deep concerns directly to top Indian security and intelligence officials. He also expressed these concerns explicitly to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the recent Group of 20 summit, as reported by the Washington Post.

Trudeau emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental principles that govern the conduct of free, open, and democratic societies.”

The victim in question, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an advocate for the creation of a separate Sikh state in India’s Punjab region, was fatally shot in June by two masked gunmen outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple in Surrey, British Columbia. Nijjar, who was born in India but resided in Canada, served as the temple’s president and was 45 years old.

Trudeau’s announcement comes amid tensions between Canada and India. Canadian officials recently canceled a planned trade mission to Mumbai and halted trade negotiations.

Trudeau revealed that Canadian authorities are collaborating with international partners in their investigation into Nijjar’s murder. He urged the Indian government to cooperate with these efforts “to uncover the truth.”

Canada’s Foreign Minister, Mélanie Joly, disclosed that she has ordered the expulsion of an Indian diplomat she referred to as “the head” of Indian intelligence in Canada. Trudeau raised these allegations with President Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and they are set to be discussed at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week.

Dominic LeBlanc, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, stated that Canadian security officials have made multiple trips to India in recent weeks to meet with their counterparts regarding Nijjar’s killing. However, he did not directly respond to repeated questions about whether Indian authorities are obstructing Canada’s investigation.

Canada is home to one of the world’s largest Sikh diaspora communities, and Nijjar’s assassination on June 18 deeply affected it. Police classified the incident as “targeted,” and members of the Sikh community asserted that Nijjar had been warned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about threats against him.

The killing sparked protests in Canada and abroad, with some Sikhs suspecting the involvement of the Indian government, which had labeled Nijjar a “terrorist.”

Tejinder Singh Sidhu, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, emphasized the significance of Trudeau’s announcement, stating, “Today, the prime minister of Canada has publicly stated what Sikhs in Canada have known for decades — India actively targets Sikhs in Canada.”

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Nijjar’s lawyer, believed that Nijjar was targeted for organizing a planned nonbinding referendum in Canada to create an independent Sikh state in Punjab, named Khalistan. Pannun called on Trudeau to expel the Indian high commissioner in Canada.

Trudeau acknowledged the concerns within the Indo-Canadian community, recognizing that “members of the Indo-Canadian community are feeling angry or perhaps frightened.”

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