Nijjar killing: Canada expels Indian diplomat, India calls charge 'baseless and motivated'
India firmly rejects PM Justin Trudeau's claims of a link between Indian agents and Khalistani leader's killing, demands swift legal action by Canada against anti-India elements sheltered on its soil
India on Tuesday, 19 September, outrightly rejected as "baseless" and "motivated" Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau's claim of a 'potential link' between Indian government agents and the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader, and instead sought prompt legal action against anti-India elements operating from Canada.
After Trudeau made the comments in the Canadian parliament, the country's foreign minister Melanie Joly announced that a “top Indian diplomat” had been expelled from Canada.
Joly's office said the diplomat was Pavan Kumar Rai, head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), according to Canadian broadcaster CBC news.
In a statement in parliament, Trudeau claimed there were "credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
In a strong reaction, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said the allegations of the government of India's involvement in any act of violence in Canada are 'absurd and motivated'.
'We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian prime minister in their parliament, as also the statement by their foreign minister,' the Indian statement said.
It added that 'such 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,' the MEA continued.
The MEA said similar allegations were made by the Canadian prime minister to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and were completely rejected.
Modi and Trudeau had had a bilateral meeting on 10 September on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Delhi.
'We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law,' the MEA said.
It said Canadian political figures have 'openly expressed sympathy' for such elements and that remains a matter of deep concern.
'The space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities, including murders, human trafficking and organised crime, is not new,' the MEA said.
'We reject any attempts to connect the government of India to such developments,' it said.
'We urge the government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil,' it added in a statement in Parliament on Monday, 18 September.
Trudeau said 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".
"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.
In his talks with Trudeau on 10 September, Modi conveyed India's strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada, as they are promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.