Justin Trudeau denies trying to provoke India by claiming death of Sikh leader | Albiseyler

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Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, denied trying to provoke Narendra Modi’s government by claiming Indian agents may be linked to the killing of a Sikh leader as he urged New Delhi to take what he described as “credible allegations” seriously.

“We don’t want to provoke or escalate, we’re just presenting the facts as we understand them and we want to work with the Indian government,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday, a day after he went public. bombshell allegations in a speech in parliament.

Modi’s office dismissed as “absurd and motivated” Trudeau’s comments on Monday that there were “credible allegations” that Indian government agents were involved in the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. As a result, there has been diplomatic expulsion in each country.

The accusations have further strained relations between the countries, which suspended talks on a free trade deal last week. They have also sparked anger and concern about Canada’s Sikh community, where some say the Indian government has been targeting them for years because some members support the Khalistan independence movement, which seeks to create a sovereign state in India’s northern Punjab state.

“For decades, India has targeted Sikhs in Canada with espionage, disinformation and now murder,” Mukhbir Singh, director of the World Sikh Organization in Canada, said on Tuesday, adding that Nijjar was a supporter of Khalistan. “India cannot be allowed to ignore the rule of law and the sovereignty of foreign states.”

Nijjar was shot on the grounds of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, one of the largest Sikh temples in North America, located in Surrey, British Columbia. The suburbs of Vancouver represent Canada’s largest Sikh enclave by proportion.

Before Nijjar’s death, he was president of the temple, where hundreds of yellow flags emblazoned with “Chalistan” in bold fluttered in the wind on Tuesday.

Groups of Sikh men sat in the parking lot on folding chairs, chatting in Punjabi. Some expressed anger.

“I’m really mad,” said Harminder Sarana, 76, a former sawmill worker who says he knew Nijjar.

“I have spoken to him so many times. He was a nice guy. He talked to everyone. He said “Śubha savera” – meaning good morning – to everyone. He asked if you needed more chairs and stuff.”

Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s Progressive New Democratic Party, which keeps Trudeau’s minority Liberal Party government in power, asked the prime minister during a parliamentary session on Tuesday what he would do to protect those facing violent threats from foreign actors. Singh, who is Sikh, later wrote a letter asking the government to “investigate India’s foreign interference in Canada”.

Trudeau has not provided any further evidence to support his claims since he made them on Monday. He was expected to arrive in New York later on Tuesday for the UN General Assembly, which Modi is skipping.

The reaction of Canada’s allies was muted. In the weeks before Trudeau’s unveiling, Ottawa held talks with some allies, including members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group — the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand — about how to address the issue, people familiar with the situation said. .

But none of the allies made any public statements before Monday’s release, including in the run-up to the G20 summit in India, where Trudeau said he raised the issue directly with Modi.

After Trudeau’s speech to parliament, the US and Australia separately said they were “deeply concerned” by the claims, while the UK said it was in contact with Canada about the “serious allegations”.

One person familiar with the situation said Washington concluded it would be inappropriate to comment on the investigation because of the legal ramifications or to join Ottawa in announcing the conclusion of what was a Canadian investigation. The person pointed out that the White House expressed concern after Trudeau spoke.

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