In a solemn setting like that of the House of Commons (parliament), the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeadu, had an explosive and unusual intervention this Monday. He accused Indian government agents of being behind the fatal shooting that claimed the life of a Sikh community leader in the province of British Columbia.
Hardeep Sing Nijjar, 45, fell victim to the brazen shooting he received outside the Sikh temple in Surrey on June 18. Nijjar supported the creation of an independent nation in the state of Khalistan, which would incorporate part of Punjab, his homeland. The New Delhi government called him a terrorist and considered him the head of a military separatist group, a circumstance that he and his followers denied.
At the time, the Canadian Mounted Police explained that Nijjar was ambushed by hooded men, but did not reveal whether it had been a politically motivated crime.
Three months later, Trudeau announced that the national security apparatus has credible information linking the operation to agents sent by the Indian executive to carry out the murder of a Canadian citizen.
The prime minister assured that last week, at the G-20 meeting held in India, he called on President Narendra Modi for that death "in unequivocal terms" based on the information collected by the Canadian intelligence services. In New Delhi it was reported that Modi has conveyed to Trudeau strong concern about the anti-India protests taking place in Canada.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the death of a Canadian citizen on Canadian territory is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau stressed. “This goes totally against the fundamental rules of free and open conduct in democratic societies,” he insisted.
Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, then announced that they proceeded to expel a diplomat from the Indian mission whom she described as the person most responsible for Indian espionage in Canada.
The prime minister urged the Indian government to participate in the investigation and cooperate with Canada to “get to the bottom of this matter.” He stressed that many members of the Canadian Indian community feel angry and, in turn, very scared. “Let's not let these change us,” Trudeau urged.
“If this accusation is true, it represents an outrageous affront to Canada's sovereignty,” declared Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre. “Our citizens must be safe from any type of extrajudicial execution, many of them from foreign governments,” he revealed, adding to the confusion.
Canada has the largest population of Sikhs outside the state of Punjab and that region has seen numerous protests that have irritated the Indian government.
This North American country has between 1.4 and 1.8 million Canadians with roots in India or descendants. Most of them are Sikhs. Among these is Jagmmet Singh, leader of the New Democracy party, the opposition group that provides support so that Trudeau, in the minority, can govern.
This accusation aimed directly at the Modi government of carrying out a calculated assassination will only erode the already difficult relationship between the two countries, analysts indicated. At the beginning of this month. Canada suspended trade negotiations with India that were due to conclude this year. And at the G-20, Modi excluded Trudeau from the list of leaders with whom he was going to have bilateral meetings.