Canada expels Indian diplomat – India rejects big charge


As Canada investigates India’s possible link to Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing

Our Bureau


Canada has expelled a top Indian diplomat on Monday 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.

A Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia.

Trudeau told Parliament that he mentioned the slaying with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-20 last week. He said he told Modi that any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and that he asked for cooperation in the investigation.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said the head of Indian intelligence in Canada had been expelled as a consequence. “If proven true this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other,” Joly said.

This expulsion comes as another jolt to the souring relations between Canada and India, as Canada recently canceled a trade mission to India that was planned for the fall.

India on Tuesday termed Canada’s allegations that Indian government agents were linked to the murder of a Sikh activist in the country “absurd and motivated.”

“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 the Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated. Similar, allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and were completely rejected. We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the 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. 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 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,” read a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

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