The United Kingdom has affirmed its close coordination with Canadian authorities regarding what it describes as “serious allegations” from Ottawa concerning the alleged involvement of the Indian government in the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia earlier this year.
Australia has also expressed its deep concern over these allegations, with a spokesperson for the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong making the statement.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently stated that Canada is actively pursuing credible allegations linking Indian government agents to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader, in British Columbia. Nijjar was fatally shot outside a Sikh temple in Surrey on June 18. He had been an advocate for an independent Khalistani state and had been designated as a “terrorist” by India in July 2020.
A spokesperson for the British government stated, “We are in close touch with our Canadian partners about these serious allegations. It would be inappropriate to comment further during the ongoing investigation by the Canadian authorities.”
This development follows India’s earlier request to the United Kingdom for increased monitoring of UK-based supporters of the Sikh separatist movement. The request came after protesters displaying “Khalistan” banners removed the Indian flag from the diplomatic mission’s building in London.
The spokesperson for Australia’s foreign minister expressed deep concern over these allegations and noted ongoing investigations. Australia has conveyed its concerns to India at senior levels.
While Prime Minister Trudeau did not directly accuse India of involvement in the murder, he stated that any foreign government’s involvement in the killing of a Canadian citizen would be “an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” The US National Security Council spokesperson also expressed deep concern about the allegations.
India has dismissed the accusations as “absurd and motivated” and urged Canada to take legal action against anti-Indian elements operating from its territory.
Trudeau’s remarks mark a significant escalation in tensions between Canada and India, with New Delhi expressing dissatisfaction over Sikh separatist activities in Canada. This diplomatic strain has also impacted trade ties, with talks on a proposed trade deal now suspended.
Canada hosts one of the largest overseas communities of Indian origin, with approximately 1.4 million people of Indian descent. The country also has a significant Sikh population, with about 770,000 people reporting Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 census.
Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc noted that several senior Canadian government officials had recently visited India to express Ottawa’s concerns.
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