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Canada Expels Top Indian Diplomat Over Killing Of Khalistani Terrorist, PM Justin Trudeau Says Not Trying To Provoke India

Canada on Monday expelled a top Indian diplomat after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed a possible link between the Indian government and the assasination of a Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in June. The sikh activist was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
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Canada on Monday expelled a top Indian diplomat after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed a possible link between the Indian government and the assasination of a Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in June. The sikh activist was gunned down on June 18 outside a sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia.

The Canadian Prime Minister told Parliament that he had brought up the issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 Summit held in New Delhi last week. He said he told Modi that any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and that he asked for cooperation in the investigation.

The head of Indian intelligence in Canada has been expelled as a consequence, AP reported. The Indian Embassy in Ottawa did not immediately answer phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

India-Canada tensions

The relations between Canada and India have been tense in recent months. During the G20 summit in India, PM Modi chose not to have a bilateral meeting with Trudeau, which was percevied by many as a snub. Trade talks have been derailed and Canada just cancelled a trade mission to India that was planned for October this year.

PM Modi also expressed India's deep concerns to Trudeau regarding the ongoing "anti-India activities of extremist elements" within Canada. In response to questions about India's concerns over the rising activities of Khalistani elements in Canada, Trudeau affirmed his country's commitment to defending freedom of peaceful protest while simultaneously asserting their determination to prevent violence and combat hatred.

Trudeau also emarked during a press conference, "Canada will always defend freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom of peaceful protest, and it is extremely important to us." The comments came in the wake of rising sikh protests in Canada. 

Videos circulated in June showing a controversial parade float in Brampton, Ontario, that was themed after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India who was killed by her sikh bodyguards after she ordered military action against sikh separatists at the Golden Temple in Punjab in 1984.

Trudeau raised matter with Biden

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said Trudeau also the raised the matter with US President Joe Biden.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada's national security adviser and the head of Canada's spy service have travelled to India to meet their counterparts and to confront the Indian intelligence agencies with the allegations. He called it an active homicide investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Canada Says Not Trying To Provoke India:

Canada is not trying to provoke India by suggesting its agents were linked to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader but Ottawa wants New Delhi to address the issue properly, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, ANI reported.

"The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate," Trudeau was quoted as habing said. 

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