New Delhi’s rebuke comes after Canada announced the expulsion of an Indian diplomat over alleged involvement in the killing of Khalistan movement leader
Pro-India protestors counter pro-Khalistan supporters in front of the Consulate General of India in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 8, 2023 © Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
New Delhi on Tuesday rejected “absurd and motivated” accusations by the Canadian government alleging that Indian agents were involved in the killing of Khalistan separatist movement leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen.
The move comes after the Canadian government opted to expel a senior Indian diplomat on Monday amid Ottawa’s investigation into what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as credible allegations that the Indian government might have had connections to the killing of a Khalistani activist. Nijjar, an outspoken supporter of the Khalistan movement that seeks an independent Sikh homeland in the Punjab region of India, was shot on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered an urgent address to lawmakers in Parliament Monday afternoon informing them Canada’s security agencies have been pursuing for weeks “credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India” and the killing of Nijjar on Canadian soil.
“Allegations of [the] Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement. It added that “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.”
New Delhi has further stated that the fact that Canadian political figures “openly expressed sympathy for such elements” remains a matter of “deep concern”.