India has reacted strongly to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations that India was behind the murder of a Khalistani leader on its soil. A statement of the Ministry of External Affairs released late night said the "unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The inaction of the Canadian Government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern."
This comes a week after Canadian PM's ‘disastrous India tour’ for attending the G-20 Summit, and the expulsion of an unnamed Indian diplomat by Canada Sunday night, signaling a further souring of bilateral ties.
On Monday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said an Indian diplomat in the country had been expelled.
In the Canadian Parliament Trudeau made a statement alleging an ”Indian hand in the killing of wanted Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar."
Joly said the Canadian government had expelled an Indian diplomat over allegations of the country's involvement in the killing of the Khalistani leader, according to Al Jazeera.
However, according to the report, she did not provide any further details on the diplomat's name or the place from where he was expelled.
The MEA statement released in Delhi said, "We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of the Government of India's involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated...We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law."
Indian experts see this move of linking the death of Khalistanis to India as Trudeau’s vindictive action and also a smart strategy to please radical Khalistani for upcoming elections. His ratings are all all-time low and such polarisation is helpful.
Smita Prakash, ANI editor, questioned the intention behind this anti-India move and wondered why no action followed after the killing of Baloch activist Karim Baloch:
Karima Baloch, a Pakistani human rights activist was found dead in Canada. Foul play suspected. Did you see Trudeau expelling Pak diplomats? Any Western media house blaming Pak Army for Putin like tactics? Nope. That is reserved only for India. https://t.co/jEaS5TYePJ— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) September 18, 2023
Also the Indian Community members who do not support the Khalistan movement are often bullied and threatened by the Khalistani campaigners and yet there is no word on them from the Canadian government.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of the wanted Khalistani leader, CBC News reported.
Nijjar was gunned down outside a gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, BC on June 18.
According to CBC News, Canada, PM Trudeau said his country's national security officials had reasons to believe that "agents of the Indian government" carried out the killing of the Canadian citizen, who also served as the president of Surrey's Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
"Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar," Trudeau said.
He stressed that the involvement of a foreign hand or government in the killing of a Canadian citizen in Canada was unacceptable.
"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," Trudeau added.
He also urged the Indian government to "cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter", CBC News reported.
He claimed that some Indo-Canadians were "angry" and "perhaps frightened right now", adding, "Let us not allow this to change us".