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Trudeau says ‘credible allegations’ link India to killing of Sikh leader in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that “credible allegations” could link India to the killing of a Sikh leader in the country.

Trudeau spoke about the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian who was a staunch supporter of the creation of a separate Sikh state in Punjab, India, called Khalistan.

In a speech to lawmakers in Canada’s House of Commons, Trudeau said that “any involvement of a foreign government in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

Niijar was shot dead in June by two masked gunmen outside a Sikh Gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia.

The Canadian leader said he had also directly informed opposition leaders about the allegations.

“In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the Indian government to work with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.

Trudeau added that the incident “contradicts the fundamental rules that free, open and democratic societies must adhere to.”

He added that he had “directly” shared his concerns about the allegations with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in New Delhi last week, adding that the top priority is that “all steps are taken” to bring the perpetrators to justice of this murder. to declare.

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“Canada has conveyed its deep concerns to the Indian government’s top intelligence and security officials,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau added that any involvement of a foreign government in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

He added that he hoped the Indian government would “work with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter.”

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said at a press conference on Monday that the head of Indian intelligence in Canada has also been deported.

“The allegations that a representative of a foreign government may have been involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen here, in Canada, on Canadian soil, are not only disturbing, but completely unacceptable,” Joly added.

Nijjar had previously been labeled a “terrorist” by the Indian government and accused of leading a militant separatist group.

The Khalistan movement, which is banned in India, is a major focus of the Indian government. Several groups linked to the Khalistani movement have been labeled as ‘terrorist organisations’ in the country.

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However, it has support among some segments of the Sikh community in Canada, Britain and Australia, who have called for the creation of a separate Sikh state.

Tensions rose earlier this year after separatist leader Amritpal Singh escaped from Indian authorities, sparking a massive manhunt. He was caught weeks later in the Punjab, after nearly a month on the run.

The Indian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

An Indian Foreign Ministry statement on September 10 said Modi had expressed “strong concerns about the continued anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada” with Trudeau during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi .

The statement said there are elements in Canada that “promote separatism” and “incite violence against Indian diplomats, damage diplomatic buildings and threaten the Indian community in Canada.”

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement that India rejects Trudeau’s statement to the Canadian parliament.

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“Allegations of Indian government involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” Bagchi said.

The statement added that India is a “democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law.”

It further said that the “baseless allegations” seek to shift focus “from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have taken shelter in Canada and continue to threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.”

The Indian government’s statement further accused Canadian politicians of “openly expressing sympathy for such elements” which “remains a matter of grave concern.”

The statement said India rejected all attempts to link the country to Trudeau’s allegations.

Relations between the two countries have been frosty and India further accused Canada, saying that “the space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities, including killings, human trafficking and organized crime, is not new.”

Updated at 11:10 PM.

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