Justin Trudeau accuses India of KILLING Sikh leader on Canadian soil and says he confronted PM Narendra Modi at the G20 earlier this month over the shooting at a temple in June
- Trudeau announced ‘credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar’
- Prominent Sikh leader Nijjar, 46, was shot dead in British Columbia on June 18
- Trudeau said he told Narendra Modi about his suspicions ‘directly’ at the G20
Justin Trudeau has accused the Indian government of assassinating a Sikh separatist leader on Canadian soil.
The Canadian prime minister said he believes Narendra Modi’s administration could be behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia on June 18.
Trudeau has expelled a top Indian diplomat – the head of Indian intelligence in Canada – amid the controversy.
It comes as tensions between the two countries grow, with Hindu nationalist leader Modi calling for Trudeau to crack down on Sikh protesters in Canada who want their own independent homeland in the Punjab district of north India, called Khalistan.
Trudeau made a statement about the death of Singh Nijjar, 46, who was a strong supporter of the Khalistan movement, while addressing the Canadian House of Commons on Monday.
Justin Trudeau has accused the Indian government of assassinating a Sikh separatist leader on Canadian soil. He told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his suspicions ‘personally and directly’ during their meeting at the G20 in New Delhi earlier this month (pictured)
Canadian security services believe Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was assassinated by Indian agents when he was gunned down in British Columbia on June 18
Singh Nijjar, 46, was a strong supporter of the Khalistan separatist movement, which calls for the creation of a new independent homeland for Sikhs in the Punjab district of north India
‘Today I’m rising to inform the house of an extremely serious matter,’ he told MPs.
‘I just informed the leaders of the opposition directly, I want now to speak with all Canadians.
‘Over a number of weeks 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 said security services were working to ensure the ‘continued safety of all Canadians’ and vowed that ‘all steps will be taken to hold perpetrators of this murder to account’.
‘Canada has declared its deep concern to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government,’ he said.
‘Last week at the G20 I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms,’ Trudeau added.
‘Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.’
He urged the Indian government ‘in the strongest possible terms’ to ‘cooperate with Canada and get to the bottom of this matter’.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said ‘if proven true’ the assassination would be a major violation of the ‘most basic rule of how countries deal with each other’.
‘As a consequence we have expelled a top Indian diplomat,’ she said.
People mourn the death of Singh Nijjar during Antim Darshan, the first part of day-long funeral services for him, in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 25
Sikh separatists want their own independent homeland called Khalistan in the Punjab district of north India
Canada is home to one of the largest overseas communities of Indian origin, which number approximately 1.4 million out of an overall Canadian population of 40 million.
Around 770,000 people reported Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 Census.
The two countries, which earlier this year said they could agree the outlines of a trade deal by end-2023, have now frozen talks on the agreement. Canada gave few details while India cited ‘certain political developments.’
Bilateral trade in 2022 amounted to just C$13.7 billion out of a total of C$1.52 trillion, according to Statistics Canada.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said several senior Canadian government officials had visited India recently to express Ottawa’s concerns.
Singh Nijjar was president of the Surrey Gurdwara in BC and Chief Coordinator of the Canadian Chapter of global Khalistan Referendum.
The latter is an initiative of secessionist group ‘Sikhs For Justice’ (SFJ) in which Sikhs across the world are voting on the question ‘Should Indian Governed Punjab Be An Independent Country?’
In his final address to the community hours before he died, he urged people to continue supporting the Khalistan Referendum campaign – and spoke about threats to his life allegedly from the Indian government.
Thousands of people attended his funeral at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Surrey where he was killed.
Trudeau made a statement about the death of Singh Nijjar, 46, who was a strong supporter of the Khalistan movement, while addressing the Canadian House of Commons on Monday
A diplomatic gulf has opened up between Canada and India over growing numbers of Sikh separatists in Canada, who want to establish their own homeland in the north India region of Punjab. Modi (right) has accused Trudeau’s administration of failing to quash the protesters
Mourners carry the casket of Singh Nijjar during Antim Darshan, the first part of a day-long funeral service for him, in Surrey, Britsih Columbia, on June 25
Sikh supporters of the Khalistan movement want to establish their own homeland due to tensions between their people and the Hindu nationalist rulers of India.
These hostilities have historic roots dating back to the British colonial policies of the late 1800s and early 1900s which sought to divide believers of the two religions, according to the Hindu American Foundation.
Sikhs were recruited to the British army to help subdue the Hindu rulers who rebelled against the British Raj.
When India gained independence in 1947, tensions between the Sikh-dominated Punjab region and the central Indian government persisted.
Amarinder Singh, the former chief minister of Punjab, blamed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and ‘Khalistani sympathizers’ in Canada, Italy and the UK for a recent surge in popularity for the separatist movement.
Khalistan separatists are also active in the US. One group attempted to set fire to the Indian consulate in San Francisco in June – though there was no major damage or injuries.
Trudeau has urged the Indian government ‘in the strongest possible terms’ to ‘cooperate with Canada and get to the bottom’ of Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s suspected murder. He spoke about it with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 in New Delhi earlier this month (pictured)
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller strongly condemned the reported vandalism and attempted arson, though he did not address the reasons for the protest.
Similar scenes have broken out in Brisbane, Australia, and in in London, England, where protesters carrying ‘Khalistan’ banners detached the Indian flag from the diplomatic mission’s building in the capital.
India responded by asking Britain for increased monitoring of UK-based supporters of the Sikh separatist movement, and trade talks between the two nations appeared to stall as a result.
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