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Canada expels Indian diplomat as it probes possible India link to murder of Sikh activist

TORONTO– Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat on Monday as part of an investigation into what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called credible allegations that the Indian government may have had links to the Canadian killing of a Sikh activist.

Trudeau told Parliament that Canadian intelligence agencies were investigating the allegations after Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a staunch supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was shot dead on June 18 outside a cultural center Sikh in Surrey, British Columbia.

Trudeau told Parliament that he raised the killing with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 last week, told Modi that any involvement by the Indian government would be unacceptable and asked for his cooperation in investigation.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said the head of Indian intelligence in Canada was expelled as a result. “If this turns out to be true, it would constitute a serious violation of our sovereignty and the most fundamental rule on how countries deal with each other,” Joly said. “As a result, we expelled a senior Indian diplomat.”

The Indian embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to telephone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

“In recent weeks, Canadian security agencies have actively pursued credible allegations regarding a potential link between Indian government agents and the murder of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau said Canada had expressed its deep concerns to the Indian government.

“Last week, at the G20, I presented them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi, in clear terms,” Trudeau said. “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 his government was working closely and in coordination with Canada’s allies on the matter.

“In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the Indian government to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.

Trudeau said he knew some members of the Indo-Canadian community were feeling angry or scared, and he called for calm.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada’s national security adviser and Canada’s spy chief traveled to India to meet their counterparts and confront Indian intelligence agencies about the allegations.

He spoke of an active homicide investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Joly said Trudeau also raised the issue with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Conservative opposition leader Pierre Poilievre said that if the allegations are true, they represent “a scandalous affront to our sovereignty.”

The Khalistan movement is banned in India, where authorities consider it and groups affiliated with it a threat to national security. But the movement still enjoys some support in northern India, as well as beyond, in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, which are home to a large Sikh diaspora.

ABC News

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