Aiming to ‘work constructively’ with India on Nijjar’s killing: Canadian PM

Toronto: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Ottawa is aiming to “work constructively” with New Delhi to “get to the bottom” of the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia on June 18 last year.

Responding to a query during a media event in Vancouver, BC, Trudeau did not provide an update as to the progress of the investigation into the killing, but said, “We are looking to work constructively with the Government of India to get to the bottom of this, to understand how this could have happened and to make sure that no Canadians are ever vulnerable again.”

Relations between India and Canada collapsed last year after Trudeau stated in the House of Commons on September 18 that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the murder of Nijjar, who was considered a terrorist in India though none of the charges against him were tested in a Canadian court. However, over nine months have passed since the murder probe was undertaken by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) and no arrests have been announced yet or proof evidenced in this context.

“We’ve been unequivocal about standing up for the rule of law and ensuring appropriate investigations are being done in full accordance with our justice system and our police independence,” Trudeau added.

India has set up a high-level inquiry into an alleged attempt to kill Sikhs for Justice (SFJ’s) general counsel Gurpatwant Pannun in New York last year. A recent Bloomberg report claimed that “rogue operatives not authorized by the government had been involved in the plot” including a person who instructed Gupta. That unnamed official is still with the Indian government though no longer with the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW).

However, that inquiry has not touched upon Nijjar’s case, according to a senior Indian official. The official said details of the report, to be submitted to the government, are being awaited, but since Canada had not provided “specific” and “relevant” information regarding the investigation into Nijjar’s killing, that was not addressed by the inquiry.

Follow-up actions are expected to be restricted to the Pannun case after the inquiry was established after an indictment in a Federal Court in New York was unsealed. An Indian national Nikhil Gupta is currently in custody in the Czech Republic, awaiting possible extradition to the United States to face charges that he allegedly attempted to hire a hitman to target Pannun.

Image courtesy of X@HarjitSajjan

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