Canadian PM Trudeau Expels Top Indian Diplomat Over Alleged Involvement in Sikh Activist's Murder
OTTAWA - Canada has taken a strong stance in response to credible allegations that the Indian government may have had links to the assassination of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed that the killing of a Canadian citizen constitutes an unacceptable violation of Canada's sovereignty. In a statement to Parliament, Trudeau revealed that Canadian intelligence agencies have been actively investigating the allegations after Nijjar, a prominent supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
Trudeau further disclosed that he had personally confronted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the matter during the G-20 summit last week. He emphasized that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an egregious violation of sovereignty and demanded cooperation from the Indian government in the investigation. As a result, Canada has expelled a top Indian diplomat, identified as the head of Indian intelligence in Canada, in response to what Foreign Minister Melanie Joly described as a potential breach of the most basic rules governing international relations.
The Indian Embassy in Ottawa has yet to respond to requests for comment regarding the allegations. However, Trudeau made it clear that Canada has conveyed its deep concerns to the Indian government and is urging them to cooperate fully to uncover the truth. Trudeau assured the public that his government has been coordinating closely with Canada's allies and has declared its commitment to getting to the bottom of the matter. He also acknowledged the fear and anger within the Indo-Canadian community and called for calm.
According to Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Canada's national security advisor and the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) have traveled to India to meet with their Indian counterparts and confront them with the allegations. LeBlanc emphasized that the investigation into Nijjar's murder is an active homicide investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The World Sikh Organization of Canada added to the gravity of the situation, stating that Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies had been aware of threats to Nijjar and other Sikh activists in Canada, having been alerted to these dangers by various sources. The organization asserted that Nijjar had publicly spoken about the threat to his life for months and claimed that he was targeted by Indian intelligence agencies.
The Khalistan movement, which seeks an independent Sikh homeland, is banned in India. Indian officials perceive the movement and its affiliated groups as a national security threat. However, the movement still garners support in northern India and among Sikh communities in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, which have substantial Sikh diasporas.
Trudeau's efforts to address the issue have extended beyond India. He also raised the matter with US President Joe Biden, emphasizing the seriousness of the allegations and the need for cooperation in the investigation. Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, from the Conservative party, condemned the alleged involvement of the Indian government, calling it an outrageous affront to Canada's sovereignty.
As the investigation unfolds, Canadians are eagerly awaiting further developments and hoping for justice to be served in the tragic murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
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