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Tensions Rise as Canadian PM Trudeau Questions India's Role in Sikh Leader's Murder

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged "credible allegations of a potential link" between individuals associated with the Indian government and the assassination of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar was killed in June outside a temple in British Columbia, a tragedy that heightened tensions between Sikh separatists and the Indian government.

Trudeau conveyed Canada's deep concerns to India's top intelligence and security officials and personally discussed these concerns with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the recent Group of 20 meeting in New Delhi. He emphasized that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil constitutes an unacceptable violation of sovereignty.

In response to these developments, Melanie Joly, Canada's foreign minister, has expelled the head of India's intelligence agency in Canada from the country. However, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, equivalent to an embassy, has not yet issued a statement in response to these actions.

This situation underscores the strained relationship between Canada and India, which further deteriorated after Trudeau's contentious meeting with Modi in the Indian capital. India characterized a June protest outside its High Commission as an "attack" and is investigating it through its anti-terror agency. Modi's office publicly criticized Trudeau for allegedly tolerating "anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada."

Allegations from Indian officials have long persisted, claiming that Canada has been too accommodating toward Sikh separatists advocating for an independent Punjab in northwestern India. The frostiness between the Canadian and Indian delegations at the New Delhi summit was noticeable, indicating a significant downturn in the bilateral relationship. While the situation is serious, it remains within the realm of allegations.

The World Sikh Organization has urged Canada to swiftly identify and bring to justice those involved in the targeted killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

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