India, Canada cross swords over killing of Khalistani leader, Trudeau expels Indian diplomat as ties hit new low
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has accused that there are “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in British Columbia area in June.
Soon after Trudeau levelled the allegations against the Indian government in the country's Parliament, Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly announced the expulsion of a “top Indian diplomat” as a consequence.
Joly's office said that the diplomat is Pavan Kumar Rai, the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's foreign intelligence agency, in Canada, reports CBC.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Trudeau was quoted as saying by CBC: "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."
"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 rules by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves," he said.
Indian Government rejects allegations:
India's Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement and said the allegations made by the Canadian government were 'absurd and motivated'.
"Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and were completely rejected," read the statement issued by the MEA.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian PM Narendra Modi met this month in New Delhi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
"We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law. 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," read the statement.
"That 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 organised crime is not new.We reject any attempts to connect the Government of India to such developments," the statement said.
The Indian government asked the Canadian government to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil.
Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar?
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canada-based pro-Khalistan leader, was shot dead in Surrey city, British Columbia province in June.
He had been a leading figure in the Khalistan separatist movement and was closely associated with Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).
Nijjar was also serving as the president of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey.
Nijjar, a member of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was a ‘wanted terrorist’ for his involvement in various acts of violence and subversive activities.
(Image credit: Khalsavox.com/PIB)