“Threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats"
India has issued a warning to citizens over visiting parts of Canada.
This comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Indian government was involved in the alleged assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh leader.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs said it “rejected” the claims, adding that allegations of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are “absurd and motivated”.
In response, the ministry said it would expel a senior Canadian diplomat.
On September 20, 2023, India’s foreign ministry said it was concerned for the safety of its citizens in Canada because of “politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence”.
It also warned Indian nationals against travelling to Canada.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) September 20, 2023
Highlighting “anti-India activities”, a statement read:
“Threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda.
“Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents.”
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead by two masked assailants in front of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia in June 2023.
Nijjar was a strong advocate of the Khalistant movement, which seeks an independent homeland for Sikhs in Punjab, India.
India previously claimed Nijjar was part of a plan to murder a priest in Punjab, offering a reward of £9,600.
Nijjar’s death led many to accuse India of playing a role in the killing.
Relations between Canada and India have been strained since Nijjar’s death and the subsequent demonstrations.
Mr Trudeau said he expected India to properly consider the allegations over Nijjar’s death.
He said: “India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness.
“We are doing that. We are not looking to provoke or escalate.”
The United States has also called for India to reveal what it knows about the death.
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said:
“We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau.”
“We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed, and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”
A senior Canadian government official said:
We’ve been working with the US very closely, including on the public disclosure yesterday [Monday].”
The official said the evidence will be shared “in due course”.
Canada’s Conservative opposition leader, Pierre Poilievre, has urged Mr Trudeau to show the evidence that the government has in hand.
Jesse Singh, founder and chairman of the community group Sikhs of America, told an event hosted by Washington’s Hudson Institute think tank that Mr Trudeau has failed to provide any proof.
Mr Singh said: “It’s just something that he said is a ‘credible allegation’ with no proof at all.
“And I think we’ll have to wait to see if there is any proof there, and then I think further decisions can be taken.”