Last Updated: September 20, 2023, 13:30 IST
Canadian opposition leader Pierre Poilievre has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide evidence to support his allegations against India regarding the killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The leader of the Canadian Conservative party emphasised that Trudeau has only issued a statement without presenting facts for his claims against New Delhi.
“I think the prime minister needs to come clean with all the facts. We need to know all the evidence possible so that Canadians can make judgments on that. The prime minister hasn’t provided any facts,” Poilievre said during a press conference on Tuesday. This came a day after Trudeau alleged that domestic intelligence agencies were actively pursuing credible allegations tying Indian agents to the Surrey shooting of Nijjar in June.
“The prime minister hasn’t provided any facts. He provided a statement and I’ll just emphasize that he didn’t tell me any more in private than he told Canadians in public,” says Pierre Poilievre re: Canada’s allegation of India’s role in killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.#cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/pEyndq2Vav— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) September 19, 2023
Canada and India have expelled a senior diplomat each after Trudeau alleged the involvement of “agents of the Indian government” in Nijjar’s killing. The 45-year-old chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and one of India’s most-wanted terrorists, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen outside a gurdwara in Surrey in the western Canadian province of British Columbia on June 18.
When asked about the risk if Trudeau doesn’t provide more information or his allegations are found untrue, Poilievre answered in one word, “real.” He also questioned the Canadian PM’s decision to go public with allegations against India but did nothing about China despite knowing about “vast interference” in Canadian affairs.
Meanwhile India, in a strongly worded statement, outrightly rejected claims made by Trudeau as “absurd”. Instead, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) urged the Government of Canada to take prompt action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil. “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 statement added.
Hours after New Delhi’s strong response, Trudeau on Tuesday said Canada is not trying to provoke India by suggesting its agents were linked to the murder of a Khalistani terrorist but Ottawa wants New Delhi to address the issue adequately. “The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate,” the Canadian PM told reporters.