Canada’s accusation that India might have been involved in the assassination of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil has ignited a diplomatic feud between the two nations, leading to the expulsion of senior diplomats from both sides. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that credible allegations were being pursued linking India to Nijjar’s June killing, promising to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Canada expelled an Indian diplomat, identified as the head of the Indian intelligence agency in the country, in retaliation. India responded by expelling a senior Canadian diplomat based in India, citing concerns over Canadian diplomats’ interference in their internal matters and involvement in anti-India activities.
Nijjar was a prominent Sikh leader in Canada, where a substantial Sikh community resides, and his murder deeply affected the community. Two Sikh community groups urged Canada to suspend intelligence, investigative, and prosecutorial cooperation with India, emphasizing India’s alleged role in Nijjar’s murder. Nijjar had advocated for Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland, and led peaceful protests against human rights violations in India and in support of Khalistan.
The Khalistan movement is considered a national security threat by the Indian government, and several associated groups are designated as “terrorist organizations” under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Nijjar’s name appeared on the list of UAPA terrorists, and he was accused of trying to radicalize the Sikh community worldwide in favor of Khalistan.
India rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd and motivated,” emphasizing its commitment to the rule of law and accusing Canada of providing shelter to Khalistani terrorists and extremists. The White House expressed deep concern about the allegations, urging Canada to continue its investigation.
Canadian authorities have not made any arrests in connection with Nijjar’s murder but are investigating three suspects and seeking public assistance in identifying a possible getaway vehicle. Australia also expressed deep concern over the allegations and engaged with India on the matter, particularly considering its Indian diaspora’s interests and contributions to its multicultural society.
In summary, Canada’s accusation of India’s involvement in the assassination of a Sikh activist has strained diplomatic relations between the two countries. The allegations center around the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh leader in Canada, and his advocacy for Khalistan. India denies the allegations, while the international community, including the United States and Australia, closely monitors the situation and calls for a thorough investigation.