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India-Canada Diplomatic Row: Expulsions and Allegations Over Sikh Leader’s Assassination

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India and Canada Expel Diplomats Amidst Row Over Assassination of Sikh Separatist Leader

India and Canada have engaged in a diplomatic spat following the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nigar, a Sikh separatist leader based in Canada. The tensions escalated after Canada accused the Indian government of involvement in the murder and expelled an Indian diplomat. In response, India deemed the allegation as “ridiculous” and expelled a Canadian diplomat from the country.

Background

Hardeep Singh Nigar, an advocate for Sikh independence from India, was shot dead on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made credible allegations linking India to the assassination, stating that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of sovereignty. The incident has strained relations between Canada and India, leading to the cancellation of a trade mission and derailing trade talks.

Expulsions and Allegations

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India expelled a Canadian diplomat and accused Canadian diplomats of interfering in its internal affairs and being involved in anti-India activities. India has long accused Canada of supporting the Sikh independence movement, which is banned in India but has support in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, where a significant Sikh diaspora resides. The Indian Foreign Ministry dismissed the allegations made by Canada as baseless and motivated.

International Response

The issue has garnered international attention, with Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie stating that the expulsion of an Indian diplomat would be a major violation of sovereignty. Canada’s National Security Advisor and the head of its spy agency traveled to India to confront Indian intelligence agencies with the allegations. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau raised the matter with US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The White House expressed support for Canada’s investigation and the pursuit of justice for the perpetrators.

Concerns and Reactions

The Canadian opposition leader, Jagmeet Singh, who is himself a Sikh, expressed outrage and shock over the possible connection between the murder of a Canadian citizen and a foreign government. He highlighted concerns about challenging India’s human rights record and its potential consequences for obtaining a visa to travel there.

Overall, the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nigar has led to a significant deterioration in diplomatic relations between India and Canada, with both countries expelling diplomats and trading accusations. The investigation into the murder continues, and international pressure mounts for a thorough examination of the case and accountability for those responsible.

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