The expelled Canadian diplomat was not named in the Indian government’s statement, but the Hindustan Times described him as the head of a Canadian news station in New Delhi.
Trudeau says “credible allegations” link India to killings in Canada
The Indian government issued a statement Tuesday dismissing Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd and motivated.” India’s foreign ministry further said that Trudeau’s allegations “seek to shift attention away from Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have been given shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Canadian government’s inaction on this matter is a long-standing and ongoing problem.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was designated a terrorist by Indian security agencies in 2020 and accused of planning attacks inside the Indian state of Punjab, home to about 16 million Sikhs.
The Khalistan movement, of which he was a part, seeks the creation of a breakaway state in the Punjab region called Khalistan, and has supporters both in India and among the large global Sikh diaspora. Thousands died during a violent separatist insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s.
Months before Nijjar was gunned down by masked gunmen in the parking lot of a Sikh temple outside Vancouver on June 18, India launched a campaign of pressure against countries including Canada, Australia, Britain and the United States, which are home to significant Sikh communities and frequent pro-Khalistan protests to intervened against the movement.
Earlier this year in London and San Francisco, protesters stormed the grounds of Indian diplomatic missions to raise the flag of their movement, angering the New Delhi government. Indian officials say pro-Khalistan supporters have also targeted Indian diplomats posted overseas.
India is seeing signs of renewed Sikh separatism and is sounding the alarm
Trudeau on Monday did not provide specific evidence linking Indian agents to the shooting, but said Canada was investigating the killing with allied nations. The controversy comes at an awkward time when Western nations, led by the Biden White House, are trying to win over India as a geopolitical and trading partner and have refrained from criticizing Modi for India’s authoritarian backsliding.
Trudeau said he had recently expressed “deep concerns” to Indian security and intelligence officials about the killings and had also conveyed them “personally and directly” and “in no uncertain terms” to Modi while he was in India for the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi. Moon.
The visit proved to be packed, with Modi’s office announcing on 10 September that the two leaders had discussed the Khalistan issue, with Modi expressing India’s “strong concern over the continued anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada”. Trudeau stayed in New Delhi a day longer than planned, which the Canadian embassy attributed to a technical problem with his plane.
The Liberal Party leader’s allegation was particularly stunning because there had been speculation for months among pro-Khalistan sympathizers — as well as Indian nationalists — that the Nijjar shooting might have been linked to two other deaths that occurred within 45 days.
Indian separatist supporters using Twitter bots to promote violence
In May, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, also an Indian terrorist, was shot dead by masked gunmen in Lahore, Pakistan. And days before Nijjar’s shooting, Avtar Singh Khanda, a British pro-Khalistan leader who raised the movement’s flag over The Indian Embassy in London during the attack, died in a Birmingham hospital. (British police have said they are not investigating Khanda’s death.)
The Indian government did not comment at the time of the death, but merger theories became television fodder, with several popular nationalist channels and pro-government analysts indirectly praising India’s hard-line approach to Sikh separatism and its rise to the top ranks. from the world’s hidden operators.
One channel, Zee News, asked if Nijjar’s death would “blow even Israel’s mind”. Another, Times Now, questioned whether India’s research and analysis wing, an external intelligence service, had become the “new Mossad”.