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India issues strong statement, rejecting allegations made by Justin Trudeau in Canadian parliament

A photograph of late temple president Hardeep Singh Nijjar is seen on a banner outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey, British Columbia. AP

The Indian government rejected the Canadian government’s allegations that Indian operatives were engaged in the death of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated…We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law,” the statement said.

The statement also said that unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It also highlighted the inaction of the Canadian Government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern and urged the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil.

Canada expelled a high-ranking Indian diplomat on Monday while it launches an inquiry into what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called plausible allegations that the Indian government was involved in the execution of a Khalistani terrorist in Canada.

In a speech to the Canadian Parliament, Trudeau revealed that Canadian security agencies had launched an investigation into the allegations following the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar, a staunch supporter of an independent Sikh nation known as Khalistan, was assassinated on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia.

During his address, Trudeau noted that he discussed the issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 conference the week before. Trudeau emphasised that he had told Modi that any complicity by the Indian government would be unacceptable and that he had asked for help in the current inquiry.

Canada has a Sikh population of more than 770,000, or about 2 per cent of its total population.

In India, the Khalistan movement and related organisations are considered a national security concern by the government. However, the movement retains some support in northern India, as well as in nations with a substantial Sikh diaspora, such as Canada and the United Kingdom.

At the time of his murder, Nijjar was organising an unauthorised referendum in India for an independent Sikh state. Last year, Indian officials proposed a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Nijjar, accusing him of participation in an alleged attack on a Hindu priest in India.



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