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Indian High Commissioner Asks 'Where Is Evidence?' On Allegations Over Killing Of Khalistani Terrorist Nijjar

In the wake of allegations made by Prime Minister Trudeau, India responded by temporarily halting the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens and requesting that the Canadian government reduce its diplomatic presence in India to establish a sense of parity.

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Protest over shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar
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Canada's investigation into the murder of a Sikh extremist has been tainted by a high-level Canadian official's public statements, India's High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma has said as he asked Ottawa to provide evidence to back up its allegations.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper, Varma on Friday said that there "is no specific or relevant information provided in this case for us to assist them in the investigation."  

"Where is the evidence? Where is the conclusion of the investigation? I would go a step further and say now the investigation has already been tainted," Verma was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

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"A direction has come from someone at a high level to say India or Indian agents are behind it," he said on Saturday, without naming anyone.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations in September of a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in the Canadian town of Surrey in June. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.

India rejected the allegations as "absurd" and "motivated".

Days after Trudeau's allegations, India temporarily suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens and asked Ottawa to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country to ensure parity. Canada has withdrawn 41 diplomats and their family members from India.

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Verma strongly denied Canada's allegation and said that India made 26 requests to Ottawa over the past five or six years to extradite people, but Canada did not take any action.

He also spoke about security threats to him and other Indian diplomatic staff in the country. 

On Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi said that there is room for diplomacy to address the diplomatic row between India and Canada.

He said both sides have been in touch and hoped that a way would be found to resolve the row. At the same time, he asserted that "sovereignty and sensitivity" cannot be one-way streets.

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