Canada Probes Claims of India’s Involvement in Assassination of Sikh Activist on Its Territory

( – Canada is home to the world’s largest population of practitioners of Sikhism outside of the Republic of India. On June 18, two masked gunmen shot and killed Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and Sikh leader in the India-based separatist Khalistan Tiger Force. A rash of recent news reports indicated that Canadian officials are probing claims of India’s involvement in his assassination.

On September 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons in a floor speech that investigators were looking into “credible allegations” that “agents of the government of India” were involved in Nijjar’s assassination in British Columbia. He explained that officials had two priorities. First to “ensure the continued safety of all Canadians,” and second, to “hold [the] perpetrators of [Nijjar’s] murder to account.”

Continuing, Trudeau confirmed that he raised the issue with his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the recent Group of 20 Summit. Trudeau told the lawmakers that the “involvement of a foreign government” in the death of a citizen on Canadian soil was an “unacceptable violation of [Canadian] sovereignty.”

Trudeau also warned that the assassination ran “contrary to the fundamental rules … which … democratic societies conduct themselves.” The prime minister concluded his remarks on the subject with a vow to pressure Indian authorities to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into Nijjar’s death.

The following day, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly confirmed that the country expelled a “key Indian diplomat,” described as the leader of India’s intelligence services in Canada. India’s Foreign Ministry quickly rejected the Trudeau administration’s claim that India was involved in Nijjar’s assassination.

The Foreign Ministry’s statement also advised that Indian officials would expel a high-ranking Canadian diplomat in response to the Canadian prime minister’s “absurd and motivated” claims.

Continuing the tit-for-tat engagement, India’s Foreign Ministry said its decision to take reciprocal action reflected New Delhi’s “growing concern” regarding Canadian “interference” in India’s internal affairs and “involvement in anti-India activities.”

Copyright 2023,