Justin Trudeau has said there is “credible evidence” India is responsible for the alleged assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Canadian Sikh leader.
The Canadian prime minister told the House of Commons of Canada on Monday that, in recent weeks, national security authorities had been probing allegations that New Delhi was behind a state-sponsored assassination.
"Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” he said. “Canada is a rule-of-law country, the protection of our citizens and defence of our sovereignty are fundamental.
“Our top priorities have therefore been one, that our law enforcement and security agencies ensure the continued safety of all Canadians. And two, that all steps be taken to hold perpetrators of this murder to account.”
The foreign affairs minister, Mélanie Joly, said Canada had expelled a “key Indian diplomat” and “expects India to fully collaborate with us and ultimately to get to the bottom of this”.
India’s ministry of external affairs said in a statement it “rejected” statements by Trudeau and his foreign minister, adding that allegations of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are “absurd and motivated”.
The New Democratic party leader, Jagmeet Singh, who is Sikh, said there must be consequences for the assassination. “To hear the prime minister of Canada corroborate a potential link between a murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil by a foreign government is something I could never have imagined,” he said.
“We will ensure that no rock is unturned, that every possible link is examined.”
The Conservative leader, Pierre Poilievre, said the allegations, if true, “represent an outrageous affront to Canada”, adding that citizens should be free from extrajudicial killings.
He added: “Canadians deserve to be protected on Canadian soil. We call on the Indian government to act with utmost transparency as authorities investigate this murder, because the truth must come out.”
In June, Nijjar was shot and killed in front of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia. He was a strong advocate of the Khalistan movement, which seeks an independent homeland for Sikhs in India’s Punjab region.
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