Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Canada expresses suspicions of Indian involvement in Sikh leader’s murder

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

On Monday, Canada announced its “active pursuit of credible allegations” connecting Indian government agents to the June murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia. This development marks a significant setback in diplomatic relations between the two countries.

During an emergency statement delivered to the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unequivocally asserted that any foreign government’s involvement in the murder of a Canadian citizen constitutes an intolerable violation of Canada’s sovereignty, as reported by Reuters.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, aged 45, was fatally shot on June 18 outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb known for its substantial Sikh community. Najjar, a proponent of an independent Khalistani state, was labelled a “terrorist” by India in July 2020.

“Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India” and Nijjar’s death, Trudeau said, as cited by Reuters.

He stated that during last week’s G20 summit in New Delhi, he discussed the murder with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He urged the Indian government to cooperate with Canada in thoroughly investigating the matter.

“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and 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,” he said.

According to Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, Canada has expelled India’s chief intelligence agent within the country, although specific details still need to be provided. Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa has remained silent in response to inquiries. This move by Canada signifies a notable escalation in tensions between the two nations, mainly stemming from New Delhi’s concerns regarding Sikh separatist activities within Canada.

During the G20 summit, Modi expressed deep concerns to Trudeau about recent Sikh protests in Canada advocating for an independent state.

Diplomatic tensions endanger trade relations, leading to a freeze in discussions on a potential trade deal. Canada has offered limited information on the deadlock, while India has referenced “certain political developments.” According to Statistics Canada, in 2022, bilateral trade reached only C$13.7 billion ($10.2 billion) out of Canada’s overall C$1.52 trillion.

The U.S. National Security Council expressed deep concern about the allegations mentioned by Prime Minister Trudeau. Trudeau did not directly implicate India in the murder, and Foreign Minister Joly used cautious language, stating that the allegations would be unacceptable “if proven true.”

Canada hosts the most prominent Sikh population outside of Punjab, India, which has led to numerous demonstrations causing concerns in India. Additionally, Canada has a substantial Indian-origin community, numbering around 1.4 million within a total population of 40 million, with approximately 770,000 identifying as Sikhs in the 2021 census.

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