HomeWorld NewsIndia rejects Canada's suspicions over role in Sikh leader's murder.

New Delhi:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said authorities were “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking New Delhi’s agents to the killing of a Sikh separatist leader, a concern India dismissed as “absurd”.

The dispute deals a fresh blow to diplomatic relations that have been troubled for years, as New Delhi is unhappy with Sikh separatist activity in Canada. Now this also threatens trade relations, with negotiations on a proposed trade agreement stalled last week.

As each nation responded by expelling one diplomat each, Canada expelled India’s top intelligence agent, while New Delhi responded by giving a Canadian diplomat five days to leave. Gave.

The involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen is an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons. emergency statement on Monday.

He was referring to Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population, on June 18, three years after India declared him a “terrorist” .

Nijjar supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent, so-called Khalistan state in India’s northern state of Punjab, the birthplace of Sikhism, which borders Pakistan.

On Tuesday, India’s External Affairs Ministry said it had given the Canadian diplomat five days to leave the country without disclosing his name or designation.

“This decision reflects the Government of India’s growing concern over the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs and their involvement in anti-India activities,” it said in a statement.

It said the ministry had called Cameron Mackay, Canada’s High Commissioner or Ambassador to New Delhi, to inform him about the move.

Earlier, New Delhi had urged Ottawa to take action against anti-India elements in Canada.

Reading Kashmiri leader says Indian state-sponsored killing in Canada is tip of the iceberg

“Allegations of Indian government involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” it said, adding that similar allegations made by Trudeau against Prime Minister Narendra Modi are “completely unfounded.” “Rejected from”.

It said the “baseless allegations” are aimed at diverting attention from “Khalistani terrorists and extremists sheltered in Canada.”

‘Quick and effective action’

“We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from its soil,” the ministry said.

Trudeau said he had raised the issue directly with Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 and urged his government to cooperate with Canada to resolve it.

In turn, Modi expressed strong concern to Trudeau over the recent protests by Sikhs in Canada demanding an independent state.

Canada has the largest population of Sikhs outside the Indian state of Punjab, with approximately 770,000 people reporting Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 census.

Khalistan is an independent Sikh state whose creation has been demanded for decades. A Sikh insurgency in India in the 1980s and early 1990s killed thousands of people before being suppressed by a tight security crackdown.

However, New Delhi has been wary of any resurgence, with a particular focus on small groups of Sikhs in Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States who support the separatist demand and sometimes protest outside its embassies. Are.

The United States and Australia expressed “deep concern” over the Canadian allegations, while Britain said it was in close contact with its Canadian allies about the “serious allegations”.

India has been particularly sensitive towards Sikh protesters in Canada and some Indian analysts say Ottawa does not stop them because Sikhs are a politically influential group there.

In June, India criticized Canada for allowing a tableau in the parade depicting the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards, which is considered a glorification of violence by Sikh separatists.

Ottawa halted talks on a proposed trade pact with India this month, just three months after both said they aimed to seal a preliminary agreement this year.

Despite similar meetings with other world leaders, Modi did not hold a two-way meeting with Trudeau at the G20 summit. A few days ago, metro stations in the Indian capital were vandalized with pro-Khalistan graffiti.

Reporting by YP Rajesh and Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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