The expelled Canadian diplomat was not named in an Indian government statement, but the Hindustan Times identified him as the head of the Canadian intelligence station in New Delhi.
The Indian government issued a statement Tuesday rejecting Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd and motivated.” India’s Ministry of External Affairs went on to say that Trudeau’s allegations “seek to divert attention from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided refuge in Canada and continue to threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. “The Canadian government’s inaction on this matter has been a long-standing and ongoing concern.”
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was designated a terrorist by Indian security agencies in 2020 and accused of planning attacks within the Indian state of Punjab, which is home to about 16 million Sikhs. The Khalistan movement of which he was a part seeks to form a breakaway state in the Punjab region called Khalistan and has supporters both within India and among the large global Sikh diaspora.
Months before masked gunmen shot Nijjar in the parking lot of a Sikh temple outside Vancouver on June 18, India stepped up a campaign to pressure countries including Canada, Australia, Britain and the United States, home to prominent communities Sikh and frequent pro-Khalistan protests to suppress the movement.
In London and San Francisco, protesters stormed the grounds of Indian diplomatic missions to raise their movement’s flag, angering the government in New Delhi.
Trudeau said on Monday that he had recently expressed “deep concerns” to Indian security and intelligence officials about the assassination and also conveyed them “personally and directly” and “in unequivocal terms” to Modi at the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi this month. . He said Canada was investigating the murder with allied nations.
Trudeau’s visit to India was tense: Modi’s office announced at the time that the two leaders had discussed the Khalistan issue and Modi conveyed “India’s strong concerns about the continued anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada.” ”.
Trudeau stayed a day longer than planned in New Delhi, which the Canadian embassy attributed to a technical problem on his plane.