Canadian national security agencies are investigating “credible allegations” that “agents of the Indian government” were involved in the death of a Canadian Sikh leader in June, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.
Trudeau said steps were being taken to hold people accountable for the death of prominent Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia.
“Canada is a country of the rule of law, the protection of our citizens in (defending) our sovereignty is fundamental,” Trudeau said in a statement to the House of Commons. “Our top priorities have therefore been that our law enforcement and security agencies ensure the continued safety of all Canadians.”
Melany Joly, Canada’s foreign minister, announced that the country would oust a “key Indian diplomat” and expected India to “fully collaborate” with Canada to get answers, according to CTV News.
Nijjar was killed June 18 near a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia, according to the Associated Press.
He advocated for the creation of Khalistan, an independent Sikh homeland in India’s Punjab region, according to CTV News.
Sikhs in Canada protested Nijjar’s death, accusing the Indian government of being behind the killing, according to CTV News.
Early Tuesday morning, from New Delhi, the Indian government issued a statement saying it “rejects” Trudeau’s statement.
“Allegations that the Indian government is involved in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” the statement read. “Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and have been completely dismissed. We are a democratic regime firmly committed to the rule of law.
As its statement continued, India called on Canada to take action.
“We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-Indian elements operating from their soil,” their statement concludes.
Trudeau told the House of Commons that he raised his concerns directly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at last week’s G20 summit in New Delhi.
“Any involvement by a foreign government in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil constitutes an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said.
Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng said Friday she was postponing a trade mission to India planned for October, after tensions between the two countries escalated after Modi reprimanded Trudeau at the G20 summit, according to Reuters.
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