New Delhi: India Tuesday rejected the allegations made by the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau that New Delhi is involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani sympathizer, who has been a prominent Sikh. leader in that country. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the allegations are “absurd and motivated” and that Ottawa was doing this to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in that country.
Canada’s Foreign Ministry has even ordered the expulsion of a top Indian diplomat Pavan Kumar Rai. , who is a representative of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Rai, a 1997-batch-IPS Officer, had joined the MEA as Joint Secretary (Personnel) in December 2018.
Canadian Sikh leader and a prominent Khalistani sympathizer Nijjar was shot outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, BC
“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated… We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law,” said Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson, MEA.
Bagchi added that the Canadian Prime Minister had raised this issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when they met on the margins of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi.
“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The inaction of the Canadian Government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern,” Baghi said.
He added that the Canadian political figures have “openly expressed sympathy for such elements remains a matter of deep concern. The space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities including murders, human trafficking and organized crime is not new.”
“We reject any attempts to connect the Government of India to such developments. We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil,” the Spokesperson said.
Trudeau Talks About ‘Agents’ Of Government of India Killing Nijjar
In a statement in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that based on intelligence reports, he has found a possible link between the Indian government and the killing of Nijjar. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, Bloc Québécois House Leader Alain Therrien, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also made similar remarks at the House of Commons.
“Over the past number of weeks Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between the agents of the Government of India, the killing of a Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” said Trudeau.
He also said, “Canada is a rule of country. The protection of our citizens and defense of our sovereignty are fundamental. Are top priorities have, therefore, been one that our law enforcement and security agencies ensure the continued safety of all Canadians and two that all steps be taken to hold perpetrators of this murder to account.”
Trudeau added. that Canada has expressed its “deep concerns” to the Indian government and intelligence agencies.
“Last week, at the G20, I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms. 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 roles by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves,” he said.
“As one would expect, we have been working closely and coordinating with our allies on this very serious matter. In the strongest possible terms I continue to urge the Government of India to co-operate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter. I also expect it to reiterate that its position on extrajudicial operations in another country is clearly and unequivocally in line with international law,” said Trudeau.
The Canadian PM also highlighted, “I know many Canadians, particularly members of the Indo-Canadian community, are feeling angry or perhaps frightened right now. Let us not allow this to change us. Let us remain calm and steady in our commitment to our democratic principles and our adherence to the rule of law. This is who we are and what we do as Canadians.”
Foreign Minister Joly said she expects India "to fully collaborate with us and get to the bottom of this."
Conservative Leader Poilievre said if the allegations are found to be true then it represents “an outrageous affront to Canada’s sovereignty. Our citizens must be safe from extra-judicial killings of all kinds, most of all from foreign governments. Canadians deserve to be protected on Canadian soil.”
“We know that the practice of the Indian government has been one of division, violence, persecution and attacking those who are critical of the government. It is now an important time to send a clear message as a democratic country,” said NDP leader Singh.
The expulsion of the Indian diplomat comes close on the heels of both India and Canada calling off decade-long talks of having a free trade agreement between them.
Who was Nijjar?
Nijjar, 45, worked as a plumber and was also President of a Sikh temple in Surrey, BC He is wanted by India for his alleged involvement in leading the Khalistan separatist movement.
Nijjar, who was also a close associate of a prominent Khalistan separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, founder of the secessionist Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) – a prescribed organization – was also involved in threatening to kill Indian diplomats posted in the UK, Canada and Australia.
Nijjar even took out protests and rallies with the posters of Indian high commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma and Consul General of India Apoorva Srivastava in Toronto threatening to bring harm to them if their demands were not met of creating a separate country carved out of India’s Punjab.
In July this year, India issued a demarche on the Canadian government to take decisive action. against Khalistan terrorists who were planning to stage protests in front of Indian embassies in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. The Canadian High Commissioner to India Cameron MacKay was called to the South Block and was handed over a note verbale.