Canada expels Indian diplomat over alleged links to Sikh activist assassination

Canada expels Indian diplomat over alleged links to Sikh activist assassination

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  • September 19, 2023
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Canada on Monday expelled a top Indian diplomat as it investigates what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called credible allegations that the Indian government may have had links to the assassination in Canada of a Sikh activist, according to a report published by The Associated Press. 

In Parliament, the Canadian PM said the country’s intelligence agencies have been investigating the allegations after Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia. 

Trudeau further said that he brought up the slaying with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit last week. “I told PM Modi that any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and asked for cooperation in the investigation.”

The expulsion comes as relations between Canada and India are tense. Trade talks have been derailed and Canada just canceled a trade mission to India that was planned for the fall.

Currently, Canada has a Sikh population of more than 770,000, or about 2% of its total population. 

“Over the past number of weeks 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,” Trudeau said as quoted by AP. 

The Canadian PM said his government has been working closely and coordinating with Canada’s allies on the case.

The Khalistan movement is banned in India, where officials see it and affiliated groups as a national security threat. But the movement still has some support in northern India, as well as beyond, in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom which are home to a sizable Sikh diaspora, AP reported. 

Nijjar had talked about an unofficial Khalistan referendum vote seeking a separate Sikh state. The Indian government had offered a reward for information leading to Nijjar’s arrest or apprehension last year. The reward of 1 million was offered by India’s National Investigation Agency, the country’s counterterrorism body.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada called Nijjar an outspoken supporter of Khalistan who “often led peaceful protests against the violation of human rights actively taking place in India and in support of Khalistan.”


(With AP inputs)

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Updated: 19 Sep 2023, 06:34 AM IST

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