Tensions between India and Canada, both countries expelled their diplomats

After Canada’s allegations, India’s reaction was swift, says our correspondent in New Delhi, Sébastien Farcis. He rejected Canada’s accusations, deeming ” absurd and motivated “, and still respect the principles” democratic “. “ We are a democratic country with a strong commitment to the rule of law », Statement of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its press release.

Therefore, New Delhi denies ordering the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh independence activist, a Canadian citizen considered an extremist separatist and wanted by Indian authorities. These charges constitute a very serious crime against India.

After calling out the opposition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday stated that there was “ credible evidence of a possible connection between agents of the Government of India and the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar (a Sikh leader), Canadian citizen ” in June. It was credible enough for Canada to expel a senior Indian diplomat.

The involvement of any foreign government in the murder of Canadian citizens on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty “, continued Trudeau. Minutes later, Mélanie Joly, his Foreign Minister, announced the expulsion of the head of India’s intelligence agency in Canada (RAW). “ Allegations that representatives of a foreign government may have been involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen here in Canada, on Canadian soil, are not only alarming, they are completely unacceptable. », said Mélanie Joly.

An activist wanted by Indian authorities

An activist for the creation of a Sikh state known as Khalistan, Hardeep Singh Nijjar is wanted by Indian authorities for alleged acts of terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder. Accusations he denies, according to the World Sikh Organization of Canada, a non-profit organization that claims to defend the interests of Canadian Sikhs.

Since this murder and the subsequent protests in Canada, tensions have increased between Ottawa and New Delhi. The Indian government has accused Justin Trudeau of turning a blind eye to the activities of a radical Sikh nationalist group advocating the creation of an independent Sikh state in northern India.

Ottawa recently postponed negotiations on a free trade agreement with India and the Trade Minister last week canceled a planned trip to the country in October. The Canadian government on Monday urged the Indian government to “ work together to clarify this issue », mentioning that Justin Trudeau had raised the issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 Summit, a few days earlier.

Also readIndia: end of candidacy of Amritpal Singh, leader of the Sikh independence movement

Narendra Modi is worried about “ anti-Indian activities in Canada »

India often complains about the activities of the Sikh diaspora abroad, especially in Canada, which New Delhi says can revive the separatist movement thanks to huge financial aid. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, stated “ serious concerns about the continued activities of anti-India extremist elements in Canada » during his meeting with Justin Trudeau, on the occasion of the last G20 meeting in India. Justin Trudeau later stated to the press that he would always defend “ freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom to demonstrate peacefully », while acting against hate.

The Indian state of Punjab, which has a 58% Sikh and 39% Hindu population, was rocked by a violent separatist movement in the 1980s and early 1990s, which displaced thousands of people. Today, the movement’s most vocal supporters primarily come from the Punjabi diaspora. Canada is the country with the largest number of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab, India.

Also readIndia: religion is once again the central theme of the upcoming legislative elections

(and with AFP)

Serena Hoyles

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