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19/09/2023 | Canada expels Indian diplomat, accuses India of assassinating Canadian citizen

Joseph Fitsanakis

THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA expelled a senior Indian diplomat on Monday, after accusing “agents of the government of India” of having perpetrated the assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil last June.

 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released information about the alleged assassination during a rare emergency statement to parliament on Monday morning. He also warned India that Canada would continue to work with its allies around the world, including the United Kingdom, to unearth further intelligence about the alleged assassination.

The case involves the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down on June 18, 2023, outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia. Nijjar was an outspoken activist and a member of Canada’s Sikh community. The adherents of Sikhism follow a monotheistic religion that originated during the late 15th century in what today in northern India’s Punjab region. Many Sikhs support the creation of Sikh homeland, which they refer to as Khalistan —an aspiration that has sparked numerous armed conflicts in India’s history. The government of India considers such aspirations a threat to its national security and regularly refers to leading Sikh activists as terrorists.

Over half of the 1.4 million Canadians of Indian origin identify as Sikhs. This makes Canada’s Sikh population the largest in the world outside of the Punjab region of India. Canadian Sikhs tend to be outspoken in their criticism of the government of India. Many of them campaign openly about what they see as the need for the establishment of an independent Sikh homeland. Nijjar was one such outspoken activist, having risen “to become a prominent advocate for the creation of Khalistan”, according to one recent biographical article. Indian authorities had accused Nijjar of terrorism and had issued a warrant for his arrest.

On Monday, Prime Minister Trudeau referred to Nijjar’s assassination as “an unacceptable violation of [Canada’s] sovereignty, adding that the murdered man was Canadian citizen. He went on to state that Canadian security agencies had been “actively pursuing allegations of a potential link” between Nijjar’s death and “agents of the government of India”. The Canadian leader also called on the government of India “to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter”. As of early this morning local time, the Indian embassy in Ottawa was not responding to requests for comment.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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