Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday there were “credible allegations” that the Indian government was behind the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canadian Sikh leader who was shot to death June 18 outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia.
Citing information from Canada’s national security agencies, Trudeau mentioned the possibility of “agents of the Indian government” playing a role in Nijjar’s killing, according to CBC.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves,” the Canadian leader said in a statement Monday, urging the Indian government to cooperate in the ongoing investigation.
India had labelled Nijjar — a supporter of an independent Sikh homeland in India — a “terrorist,” alleging his involvement in a militant separatist group. Nijjar’s supporters have contested this characterization. India has previously denied any allegations the country is connected to Nijjar’s murder, according to the BBC.
Justin Trudeau says Canada is investigating allegations that “agents of the government of India” were behind the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh leader in British Columbia. pic.twitter.com/x7gEL3bacz
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Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced that a senior Indian diplomat, who served as the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, had been expelled from Canada following the incident. The diplomat was identified as Pavan Kumar Rai, CBC reported, citing Joly’s office. (RELATED: Trudeau Backs Official Who Blamed India For Sikh Extremist’s Presence)
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is leading the investigation into the murder, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc confirmed to the outlet.
The matter was also reportedly brought up during a meeting between Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in New Delhi.