India calls Canada arrests over killing of Sikh activist ‘political coercion’ | Political news

In response to the arrest of Indian nationals, Trudeau acknowledges the fear within Canada’s Sikh community, but emphasizes the “rule of law.”

Canada’s investigation into India’s alleged involvement in the killing of a Sikh separatist in Vancouver last year was ‘political coercion,’ India’s foreign minister says after arrest of three Indian citizens for this murder.

Canadian police arrested the trio on Friday for the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, saying they were investigating their links to the Indian government, “if any.” He emigrated to Canada in 1997 and acquired citizenship 18 years later.

He was wanted by Indian authorities on allegations of terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder, allegations he had denied. On June 18, 2023, he was shot and killed by masked assailants in the parking lot of the Sikh temple he led in suburban Vancouver.

Nijjar’s assassination plunged diplomatic relations between Ottawa and New Delhi last year after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were “credible allegations” linking Indian intelligence to the crime.

India rejected the accusation as “absurd”, temporarily halting visa processing and forcing Canada to significantly reduce its diplomatic presence in the country.

“It is their political compulsion in Canada to blame India,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar as saying on Saturday.

New Delhi has sought to persuade Ottawa not to grant visas or political legitimacy to Sikh separatists, Jaishankar said, because they are “causing problems” for them. [Canada]for us and also for our relationship.”

He added that Canada “does not share evidence with us in some cases, [and] the police are not cooperating with us either.”

Jaishankar said India would wait for Canadian police to share information about the arrested men, adding that the suspects “are apparently Indians from some sort of gang.”

“We will have to wait until the police tell us,” he said. “But, as I said, one of our concerns that we have expressed to them is that, you know, they have allowed organized crime from India, particularly from Punjab, to operate in Canada. “

The three Indian nationals, all aged in their 20s, were arrested in Edmonton, the provincial capital of Alberta, on charges of first degree murder and conspiracy. They were accused of being the aggressor, driver and lookout for his assassination last June. Canadian police said they were aware that “others may have played a role” in the killing.

Meanwhile, Trudeau, speaking Saturday at an event in Toronto to celebrate Sikh heritage and culture, acknowledged that many Sikhs in Canada “feel uncomfortable, and maybe even afraid right now,” but urged people to have faith in the justice system.

“Let us remain calm and remain steadfast in our commitment to our democratic principles and our justice system,” he said.

Trudeau said the arrests were “important because Canada is a rule-of-law country with a strong and independent justice system, as well as a fundamental commitment to protecting all of its citizens.”

Nijjar advocated for a separate Sikh state, known as Khalistan, carved out of India. Thousands of people were killed in the 1980s during the separatist movement suppressed by Indian security forces. The movement has largely lost steam in India, but in the Sikh diaspora – the largest community of which is in Canada, with around 770,000 people – it retains the support of a vocal minority.

India has repeatedly warned the governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom that Sikh separatists were trying to return.

In November, the US Department of Justice charged an Indian citizen living in the Czech Republic with plotting a similar assassination attempt on US soil.

A Washington Post investigation revealed last week that Indian foreign intelligence officials were involved in the plot, a claim New Delhi rejects.

Chad Sutton

"Typical zombieaholic. General twitter fanatic. Food fanatic. Gamer. Unapologetic analyst."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *