Canada has expelled a top Indian diplomat for his alleged involvement in the assassination of Canadian Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in the Canadian province of British Columbia in June.
Canadian Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, said the allegations against the Indian diplomat are very serious and, if these allegations were proven it would be a great violation of Canada’s sovereignty.
“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,” Joly said.
“As a consequence, we have expelled a top Indian diplomat.”
Joly said she “expects India to fully collaborate with us and ultimately to get to the bottom of this.”
Meanwhile, India has rejected Ottawa’s accusation of it being involved in the alleged murder, calling the claims “absurd’’.
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau on Monday said there were credible allegations linking the Indian Government to the death of Hardeep Nijjar.
The Indian Foreign Ministry in statement described the allegations of Indian government involvement in any act of violence in Canada as “absurd and motivated.”
“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 statement added.
It referred to the Sikh political ideology calling for the creation of an autonomous Sikh homeland known as Khalistan.
The ministry added that Canada’s inaction had been a long-standing and continuing concern.
“We urge the government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil”, the statement added.
It said that shortly after, the Indian Foreign Ministry issued another statement, saying that a senior Canadian diplomat was asked to leave India within “the next five days.
“The decision reflects government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities,’’ the statement said.
Trudeau had told the Canadian parliament that security agencies had been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of Nijjar.
Nijjar, a well-known advocate for an independent Sikh state on Indian territory, was shot dead in June outside a Sikh cultural centre in the Canadian town of Surrey.
Ottawa had expressed deep concern to top intelligence and security circles of the Indian government, Trudeau said.
He had also directly addressed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the incident at the recent G20 summit.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has said that national security agencies are presently investigating “credible allegations”.
“Over the past 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 the Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar”, Trudeau said.