Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has claimed that the Indian government could be behind the fatal shooting of a Canadian Sikh leader.
Mr Trudeau said he had raised his concerns “personally and directly” to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at a Group of 20 summit last week in India about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, on 18 June.
46-year-old Singh Nijjar, chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force wanted by India’s government, reportedly carried a bounty of Rs 1m (£9,526) for information leading to his arrest over the 2021 killing of a Hindu priest in Pujab 2021.
Nijjar was accused of training and funding members of the separatist group, and had been declared a terrorist by India. He was also associated with another separatist group, Sikh for Justice, with his name included in the list of wanted men and handed to President Trudeau during the prime minister’s visit to India in 2018.
The Khalistan movement is a Sikh secessionist movement that calls for a separate homeland for the religious community to be carved out of India’s Punjab state.
“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government,” Mr Trudeau said in an emergency statement to the House of Commons.
“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.
“As you would expect, we have been working closely and coordinating with our allies on this very serious matter.
“In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the Government of India to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter.”
Mr Trudeau offered support to members of the Indo-Canadian community who might be feeling “angry” or “frightened.”
“Let us remain calm and steadfast in our commitment to our democratic principles and our adherence to the rule of law”, he added. “This is who we are, and what we do, as Canadians.”
Meanwhile, an Indian diplomat expelled from Canada was the head of the country’s intelligence agency, the foreign minister confirmed on Monday.