India-Canada row - Death of Sikh leader in Canada

Update: Indian govt rejects Canada accusation of link to murder of Sikh leader in Canada

by Niresh Eliatamby 19-9-2023 | 7:40 AM

Colombo (News 1st) - Update: India's external affairs ministry on Tuesday (19) rejected accusations by the Canadian government linking the Indian government with the murder of a prominent Sikh separatist leader in Canada, and expelled an Indian diplomat in return for Canada expelling an Indian diplomat, international media reported.

Tensions between India and Canada are high after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said that Canadian authorities have evidence of the Indian government's involvement.

India has repeatedly denied any involvement in the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, a Canadian citizen, who was shot dead on June 18 this year outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia. 
Trudeau says there is "a credible link" to the government of India and raised the matter with PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit last week in New Delhi.

“Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated. Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister, and were completely rejected. We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law,” the statement from India's external affairs ministry said.

On Monday Canada expelled an Indian diplomat, who it says is believed to be linked to the killing.

"Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty," Trudeau said on Monday in Canada's House of Commons. "It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves."

Nijjar, a vocal campaigner for an independent Sikh homeland named Khalistan in the Indian state of Punjab which is the traditional Sikh homeland, was shot by two masked gunmen in the car park of the temple in the town of Surrey. India had earlier labeled him as a terrorist and placed him on a wanted list.

Canada is home to a large number of Sikhs, forming the largest Sikh population outside Punjab.