OTTAWA: The diplomatic dispute between Canada and India has deepened following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s revelation on Monday that authorities had received “credible” intelligence implicating “agents of the government of India” in a recent murder. In an effort to avoid the serious allegations, India’s Ministry of External Affairs has denied these allegations and responded by expelling a Canadian diplomat.
According to a report by Global News, protests by the Sikh community are scheduled to take place outside Indian consulates in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver in the coming week. “We will not allow the Indian consulates to function, and we’re going to push the Canadian government to name the people who are responsible for assassinating and giving the orders to hit Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal counsel for Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), in a statement to Global News.
We will not allow India or any other nation to interfere in our democracy.
The involvement of any foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is a grave violation of our sovereignty. pic.twitter.com/nBTAshuzpL
— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) September 18, 2023
India has issued a statement rejecting any connection between its government and the murder, emphasizing that it is “a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law.” The Ministry of External Affairs further urged the Government of Canada to take swift and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from its soil.
Sikhs for Justice, an organization known for organizing referendum votes on Khalistan globally, is demanding the expulsion of Indian High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Verma. They are characterizing the alleged murder as an attack against Sikhs and an affront to Canadian sovereignty.
Harkireet Kaur, a member of the North American Sikh Association, expressed the sentiment within the community, describing the murder victim, Hardeep, as “like a father” at the local Gurdwara. “People are livid right now. This is a news story that obviously has shaken the whole country. It’s also a news story that has shaken the community to a certain extent,” said Jaskaran Sandhu, a board member with the World Sikh Organization of Canada.
My statement on allegations surrounding the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. pic.twitter.com/auIyj194A8
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) September 19, 2023
Canada Accuses India of Involvement in Sikh Leader’s Murder
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said that the Indian government is behind the assassination of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in a fatal shooting outside of a Sikh temple on 18 June in British Columbia.
Trudeau said Canadian intelligence has found a credible connection between his death and the Indian state. Canadian PM said he raised the issue with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the G20 summit.
Trudeau said Canada’s national security agencies have a reason to believe that agents of the Indian government assassinated Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, who also served as the head of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
He said that the Canadian security apparatus has been actively pursuing allegations of a possible link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen.
The PM added any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on its soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.
Trudeau said it is against the fundamental principles by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves. He added Canada has been working closely and coordinating with its allies on this very serious issue.
The murder of Hardeep is currently under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), with no arrests made thus far. However, investigators are actively seeking three suspects, and a suspect vehicle believed to be the getaway car has reportedly been identified.