Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that Canadian security agencies were actively investigating a potential link between the Indian government and the assassination of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, which occurred earlier this year.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a wanted individual by the Indian government, was killed in a targeted shooting outside a gurdwara in Surrey on June 18. Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the issue during a session in the House of Commons in Ottawa, revealing that Canadian security agencies had been pursuing credible allegations regarding this matter.
“Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau stated.
Trudeau also disclosed that he had personally conveyed Canada’s concerns to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, during their meeting at the G20 Summit held last week.
“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence security officials of the Indian government. Last week, at the G20, I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms,” Trudeau said.
The Canadian Prime Minister called upon the Indian government to cooperate in uncovering the truth behind this matter and reiterated Canada’s position against “extra-judicial operations” in foreign countries.
In response to these allegations, PM Modi expressed his concerns about ongoing “anti-India activities” being conducted by “extremist elements” in Canada during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
“He (Prime Minister Modi) conveyed our strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada. They are promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises, and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship,” stated the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Furthermore, the PMO expressed apprehension about the extremist forces’ association with organized crime, drug syndicates, and human trafficking, suggesting that these should also be of concern to Canada.
As a consequence of these developments, Canada has expelled a high-ranking Indian diplomat. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly confirmed the expulsion, stating, “If proven true, this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other.”
MEA says, "The High Commissioner of Canada to India was summoned today and informed about the decision of the Government of India to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India. The concerned diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next five days. The decision… pic.twitter.com/E3Uf9HVQLN— ANI (@ANI) September 19, 2023
Hardeep Singh Nijjar had been a figure of interest for Indian authorities, with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) offering a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information on him in 2022. He was accused of conspiring to assassinate a Hindu priest in Jalandhar, and the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), an organization led by Nijjar and accused of various acts of violence, was linked to the priest’s murder.
In a separate case, the NIA had also filed a chargesheet against Nijjar for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to “commit terrorist acts against India.” The investigation into his killing has now become a point of international concern, potentially straining relations between Canada and India.