Minister S Jaishankar says India is open to seeing evidence in killing of Canadian Sikh

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in British Columbia, Canada, in June

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar arrives to address the 78th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. AP
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New Delhi is “open to looking” at information over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, in June, said Indian Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Mr Jaishankar told a Council on Foreign Relations event on Tuesday that India had informed Canada: “This is not the government of India's policy."

That was in response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week saying that Canada was pursuing “credible allegations” that Indian government agents may be linked to the murder.

“We told the Canadians, saying that, 'Look, if you have something specific, if you have something relevant, let us know we are open to looking at it',” Mr Jaishankar said.

He attacked Ottawa for not adequately dealing with Sikh separatist groups operating in Canada.

“Canada actually has seen a lot of organised crime, you know, relating to secessionist forces, organised crime, violence, extremism,” Mr Jaishankar said.

Last week, Mr Trudeau alleged that Canada had evidence that Indian agents were involved in the killing of Mr Nijjar.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” he told the House of Commons, calling on India to co-operate in its investigation.

Mr Nijjar, 46, originally came from Jalandhar district in India's northern state of Punjab. He moved to Canada in 1997 where he worked as a plumber.

In India, he was accused of conspiring to kill a Hindu priest.

India-Canada relations have been fraught in recent years, and Mr Trudeau’s allegations have soured them even further.

Last week, India suspended new visas for Canadians and asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in the country.

India 'open' to looking at evidence in killing of Canadian Sikh

India 'open' to looking at evidence in killing of Canadian Sikh

“We have a situation where, actually, our diplomats are threatened,” Mr Jaishankar said. “Our consulates have been attacked.

"There's interference in our politics and a lot of this is often justified as saying, 'Well, that's how democracies work'.”

Washington has said it is concerned by Mr Trudeau's allegations.

“We are obviously quite concerned about the situation in Canada,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

“We've co-operated closely with our Canadian counterparts and we have urged India to co-operate in that investigation, and will continue to do so.”

Updated: September 27, 2023, 10:36 AM