India rejects ‘GoI involved in killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’ claim

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, chief of Khalistan Tiger Force, was killed in the parking lot of a Gurdwara in Canada. [Photo: Twitter/ arunpudur]

New Delhi: On Tuesday, the  government of India responded to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claims over the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey earlier this year.

The Indian government has, in a statement, rejected the Canadian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister’s claims.

We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister, India said.

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, said a statement by Ministry of External Affairs.

We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law, the MEA said.

“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,” the ministry said.

Earlier, Canada announced that it is actively investigating credible allegations linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia in June.

This revelation has strained diplomatic ties between the two countries, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an emergency statement to the House of Commons, emphasized that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen constitutes an unacceptable violation of their sovereignty.

Nijjar, a supporter of an independent Khalistani state, was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb known for its sizable Sikh population. India had designated Nijjar as a “terrorist” in July 2020.

Trudeau disclosed that Canadian security agencies are actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Indian government and Nijjar’s death.

He also mentioned that he had personally discussed the murder with Indian Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi during the G20 summit in New Delhi and urged India to cooperate in resolving the matter.

As a response to these developments, Canada expelled India’s top intelligence agent in the country, according to Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, although specific details were not provided. The Indian high commission in Ottawa did not comment on the matter.

These events mark a significant escalation in tensions between Canada and India, with New Delhi expressing displeasure over Sikh separatist activities within Canada. Modi conveyed his concerns to Trudeau at the G20 summit regarding recent Sikh demonstrations in Canada advocating for an independent state. These diplomatic strains are now affecting trade relations, with talks on a proposed trade deal halted.

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