Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said ‘foreign powers’ were behind the killing of pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force terrorist group. He claimed the Indian government played a role in his fatal shooting, news agencies ANI and CBC reported.
The ministry of external affairs on Tuesday said the claims made by the Canadian Prime Minister are ‘motivated’ and ‘absurd’.
“We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of the Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated. Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister, and were completely rejected,” the external affairs ministry said in a press release.
Canada also expelled a senior Indian diplomat hours after Trudeau made the claims. Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly told Canadian media outlets that her government has expelled a senior Indian diplomat over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Nijjar, wanted in India, was shot outside a gurdwara’s parking lot in Surrey, a city in the Canadian province of British Columbia, on June 18.
“Such 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 inaction of the Canadian Government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern,” the external affairs ministry said.
Nijjar, who hailed from Punjab’s Bharsinghpur village of Jalandhar, was a Canadian citizen who served as the president of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
Trudeau claimed that the attack on a Canadian citizen within Canada was a violation of the nation’s sovereignty. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves,” Justin Trudeau said, according to ANI.
“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,” the Canadian Prime Minister claimed.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) declared Nijjar an absconder.
“I know that many Canadians, particularly members of the Indo-Canadian community, are feeling angry and perhaps frightened right now. Let us not allow this to change us,” Trudeau further added.
Senior Indian Diplomat Expelled
Canadian foreign minister Mélanie Joly told Canadian news outlets on Monday (local time) that the Canadian government expelled a senior Indian diplomat from the country, hours after Trudeau claimed India played a role in the death of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
“We’ve been clear we will not tolerate any form of foreign interference. Since this was brought to our attention, we’ve been guided by three principles. The first one, we will seek the truth. The second one, we will protect Canadians at all times. And thirdly, we will protect Canada’s sovereignty,” the Canadian foreign minister said.
“I’ve conveyed these principles to my Indian counterparts. And I’ve also told him that we expect India’s full collaboration to make sure that we get to the bottom of this. And as of today, and as a consequence, we’ve expelled a top Indian diplomat from Canada,” Joly further added.
The external affairs ministry responded by saying that Canadian political figures have “openly expressed sympathy for such elements” causing concern for India. “The space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities including murders, human trafficking and organized crime is not new. We reject any attempts to connect the Government of India to such developments. We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil,” the MEA said in its press release.