Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat on Monday as it investigates what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called credible allegations that India’s government may have had ties to The killing of a Sikh activist in Canada. Trudeau told Parliament that Canadian intelligence agencies have been looking into the allegations against the Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjara staunch supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was shot dead on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
Trudeau told Parliament that he spoke about the killing with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-20 last week, that he told Modi that any involvement by the Indian government would be unacceptable and that he asked for cooperation in the investigation.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said the head of Indian intelligence in Canada has been expelled as a result. “If proven true this would be a huge violation of our sovereignty and the most fundamental rule of how countries deal with each other,” Joly said. “As a result we have expelled a senior Indian diplomat.” The Indian embassy in Ottawa did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment. “Over the past few weeks Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a possible link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said Canada has expressed its deep concerns to the Indian government. “Last week at the G-20 I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms,” Trudeau said. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” Trudeau said his government has been working closely and coordinating with Canada’s allies on the case. “In the strongest possible terms I continue to call on the Government of India to work with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.
Trudeau said he knows there are some members of the Indo-Canadian community who feel angry or scared, and he called for calm.
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Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada’s national security adviser and the head of Canada’s spy service have traveled to India to meet their counterparts and confront Indian intelligence agencies about the allegations.
He called it an active homicide investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Joly said Trudeau also raised the issue with US President Joe Biden. Conservative opposition leader Pierre Poilievre said that if the allegations were true, they represented “an outrageous affront to our sovereignty”. The Khalistan movement is banned in India, where officials see it and related groups as a threat to national security. But the movement still has some support in northern India, as well as beyond, in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, which are home to a sizeable Sikh diaspora.