April 15, 2024

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that “credible allegations” may tie India to the assassination of a Sikh leader in the country.

Trudeau addressed the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian who was a staunch supporter of the creation of a separate Sikh state in Punjab, India, called Khalistan.

In a speech to lawmakers in the Canadian House of Commons, Trudeau said that “any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

Niijar was shot dead by two masked gunmen in June outside a Sikh Gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia.

The Canadian leader said he had informed the leaders of the opposition directly about the allegations as well.

“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,” he said.

Trudeau added that the incident is “contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves.”

He added that he had shared his concerns over the allegations “directly” with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week at the G20 Summit in New Delhi and added that the top priority is that “all steps be taken” to hold the perpetrators of this murder to account.

“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau added that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

He added that he hoped the Indian government would “cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter.”

Nijjar had previously been a “terrorist” by the Indian government and accused of leading a militant separatist group.

The Khalistan movement, outlawed in India, is a key focus of the Indian government. Several groups associated with the Khalistani movement have been designated as “terrorist organizations” in the country.

However, it has support among some segments of the Sikh community in Canada, Britain and Australia, who have called for the creation of a separate Sikh state.

Tensions ratcheted up earlier this year after separatist leader Amritpal Singh escaped from Indian authorities, sparking a massive manhunt. He was caught weeks later in the Punjab after almost a month on the run.

The Indian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

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