India has rejected allegations made by the Canadian government linking it to the assassination of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) termed the allegations ‘absurd ‘and ‘motivated’. The government said that the allegations were aimed at diverting attention from Khalistani terrorists and extremists who are given shelter in Canada.
Nijjar, a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia.
In an official statement, the government said that these allegations were driven by ulterior motives, emphasizing that they had also been rebuffed when raised by the Canadian Prime Minister during discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recent G20 summit. "We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their foreign minister," the government said.
"Allegations of the government of India's involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated," the statement noted. "Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister, and were completely rejected."
India, as a democratic nation committed to the rule of law, expressed deep concern about the Canadian government's lack of action in addressing this issue, particularly regarding the shelter provided to these individuals. "We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law. 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 official statement stated.
The government urged the Canadian government to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil. "Canadian political figures have openly expressed sympathy for such elements remains a matter of deep concern. The space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities including murders, human trafficking and organised crime is not new. We reject any attempts to connect the government of India to such developments," the statement added.
The reaction comes a day after Canada said that it was "actively pursuing credible allegations" linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader, dealing a further blow to diplomatic ties between the countries.
Also, Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat as it investigated what Trudeau called credible allegations that India’s government may have had links to the assassination in Canada of a Sikh activist.
Trudeau said in an emergency statement to the House of Commons that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen was "an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty".
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population. Nijjar supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistani state and was designated by India as a "terrorist" in July 2020.(Times of India)