Canada hyperlinks India to slaying of Sikh exile, expels intel chief

An indication exterior the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple is seen after the killing on its grounds in June 2023 of Sikh chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada September 18, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Ottawa, Canada — Canada on Monday accused India’s authorities of involvement within the killing of a Canadian Sikh chief close to Vancouver final June, and expelled New Delhi’s intelligence chief in Ottawa in retaliation.

The diplomatic transfer despatched relations between Ottawa and New Delhi, already bitter, to a dramatic new low.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed an emergency session of the parliamentary opposition at mid-afternoon that his authorities had “credible allegations” linking Indian brokers to the slaying of an exiled Sikh chief, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in June in British Columbia.

“The involvement of any international authorities within the homicide of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau stated.

He referred to as “within the strongest potential phrases” on the Indian authorities to cooperate in clearing up the matter.

Overseas Minister Melanie Jolie stated the Trudeau authorities had taken rapid motion.

“At this time we have now expelled a senior Indian diplomat from Canada,” she stated, with out naming the official.

Jolie stated the expelled Indian is the pinnacle of the Analysis and Evaluation Wing (RAW), India’s international intelligence company, in Canada.

Nijjar, whom India had declared a needed terrorist, was gunned down on June 18 in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver that’s dwelling to a significant Sikh group. Canada has the biggest inhabitants of Sikhs exterior of Punjab, India.

Nijjar advocated for the creation of an impartial Sikh state to be carved out of elements of northern India and maybe a part of Pakistan. India accused Nijjar of finishing up terrorist assaults in India, a cost he denied.

Tensions between India and Canada have been simmering over the unsolved slaying, and Indian unhappiness over how Ottawa has dealt with right-wing Sikh separatists.

New Delhi accuses Ottawa of turning a blind eye to the actions of Sikh nationalists who search a separate Sikh homeland in northern India.

A former adviser to Trudeau, Jocelyn Coulon, asserted that Canada’s accusation would have “the impact of a bomb around the globe.”

India will be a part of “the group of countries that assassinate political opponents” overseas, a lot as Saudi Arabia orchestrated the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018, stated Coulon, who’s now an impartial researcher.

New Delhi didn’t instantly reply to Canada’s costs.

Tensions between the 2 nations flared additional earlier this month in the course of the G20 summit in New Delhi, which Trudeau attended.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “robust considerations about persevering with anti-India actions of extremist components in Canada” throughout a gathering with Trudeau, in keeping with an Indian authorities assertion.

India has usually complained about actions of the Sikh diaspora overseas, significantly in Canada, which New Delhi believes might revive a Sikh separatist motion.

The Indian state of Punjab, which is 58 p.c Sikh and 39 p.c Hindu, was rocked by a violent separatist motion within the Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties, through which hundreds died.

Canada additionally just lately suspended negotiations for a free commerce settlement with India.

Trudeau later instructed media that Canada would at all times defend “freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of peaceable protest” whereas performing in opposition to hatred.


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