India is involved in the murder of our citizen on our territory, say Canadian officials. Ottawa accuses the Indian authorities of involvement in the murder of the leader of the Sikh religious community in Canada, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
The Canadian diplomat’s visit to the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not last long. Not only was the man leaving the Indian ministry in a hurry, but he would also have to leave India itself within five days. This is another stage in the growing dispute between Canada and India, in the background of which increasingly serious accusations appear.
“We have received very credible intelligence information regarding the ongoing investigation that indicates that Indian government agents were involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil,” says Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair.
This is about the leader of the Sikh religious community in Canada, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in a suburb of Vancouver in June. So far, no arrests have been made in connection with his death, and the latest reports have shocked Canada and may have serious consequences – not only on diplomatic grounds. – Any involvement by a foreign government in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. – emphasizes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Nijjar, murdered in June, headed the separatist movement of Sikhs, who represent approximately 770,000 Canadian residents. The man supported the creation of an independent Khalistan, a Sikh state that would include the territory of the state of Punjab in India. In 2020, the authorities in New Delhi declared him a terrorist. Nijjar is the third prominent figure in the Sikh community to die unexpectedly in recent months. “Allegations that a representative of a foreign government may have been involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen here on Canadian soil are not only disturbing, but also completely unacceptable,” said Melanie Joly, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Melanie Joly said that Canada had expelled a senior Indian diplomat due to these suspicions.
The government in New Delhi responded in kind. He also firmly rejected the accusations from Ottawa and appealed to the Canadian authorities to crack down on the Sikh separatist movement operating on its territory. “Such baseless allegations are aimed at diverting attention from terrorists and extremists from Khalistan who have been given refuge in Canada and who are threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. The inaction of the Canadian government in this matter has long raised our concerns,” reads an excerpt from the statement posted on the Indian website ministry of interior affairs.
Tensions have been building for years and are damaging not only the diplomatic relationship between Canada and India, but also their economic relationship. Canada recently halted trade talks with India.
– We have mixed feelings at the moment. On the one hand, we appreciate that Canada recognized India as a party involved in these events, but on the other hand, we wonder what the next steps will be – says Moninder Singh, director of the Canadian Sikh Coalition, about the whole matter.
The issue of possible involvement of a foreign government in a crime committed on Canadian territory has received wide international attention, and the White House has expressed concern about the reports. “We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is very important that the investigation continues and that the perpetrators are held accountable,” said White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson.
The matter is also being closely monitored by Great Britain and Australia – two more countries with a significant Sikh population, which numbers approximately 25 million followers worldwide.
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Main photo source: Reuters