Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that “agents of the Government of India” have been linked to the shooting death of Sikh Canadian leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in June.
“Today I am rising to inform the House of an extremely serious matter. I just informed the leaders of the opposition directly, I want now to speak with all Canadians,” Trudeau said during an address in the House of Commons on Monday.
“Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
“Canada is a rule-of-law country. The protection of our citizens and the defence of our sovereignty are fundamental. Our top priorities have therefore been one, that our law enforcement and our security agencies ensure the continued safety of all Canadians. And two, that all steps be taken to hold perpetrators of this murder to account.”
Trudeau addressed the matter following a report from the Globe and Mail, stating that Canadian officials had intelligence that India was behind Nijjar’s death.
Following Trudeau’s announcement, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly confirmed that Canada had expelled an “Indian diplomat.”
“As of today, and as a consequence, we have expelled a top Indian diplomat from Canada,” she said.
Daily Hive has reached out to Joly’s office for more information regarding the diplomat.
A prominent member of Sikh community in Surrey
Nijjar was gunned down in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey just before 8:30 pm in June.
The 45-year-old was a plumber as well as a prominent member of Surrey’s Sikh community.
He was publicly connected to the campaign for Khalistan, an independence movement seeking a separatist Sikh nation in Punjab, India.
However, the movement has been condemned by the Government of India over its extremist ties. According to reports from India, Nijjar was wanted in the country and declared a terrorist.
BC RCMP and IHIT had previously revealed investigators would be in talks with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in the case, but would not confirm reports that Nijjar had been threatened in the months leading up to his death.
Concrete action needed: WSO
In response to Trudeau’s announcement, the World Sikh Organization (WSO) stated that the agency has alerted the Government of Canada about Indian interference in the country “for years.”
BREAKING NEWS: WSO CONDEMNS THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE KILLING OF CANADIAN SIKHS ON CANADIAN SOIL
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed what Canadian Sikhs have known for months- that credible evidence exists to substantiate… pic.twitter.com/jIkS0rPujo
— WSO (@WorldSikhOrg) September 18, 2023
“Today’s announcement must be followed by concrete action. India cannot be allowed to disregard the rule of law and the sovereignty of foreign states. The killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and other Sikh activists were terrorist acts that must be condemned by the international community,” said WSO President Tejinder Singh Sidhu in a statement.
“Those responsible for these killings must be immediately brought to justice. India should honour its international obligations and cooperate with the Government of Canada in investigating these matters.”
BC premier “deeply disturbed”
BC Premier David Eby also issued a statement regarding today’s developments.
“Today, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the Government of Canada has credible evidence of links between the Government of India and the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a gurdwara in Surrey. This afternoon, I received a further briefing from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) on these allegations,” he stated.
“I am deeply disturbed and angered by this information. Canadians across the country must be safe from the interference of foreign governments, including being targeted for threats or physical harm, including murder.”
Eby added that the province will do everything in its power to increase protection for British Columbians against “violence or threats of of state actors.
He noted that he stands with the “Sikh and Punjabi community” as well as the province in demanding answers.