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Canada told allies before sharing allegations about India over B.C. killing: Trudeau

Last Updated Sep 19, 2023 at 7:57 am MDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, after making a statement that Canadian authorities had intelligence that India was responsible for the June fatal shooting of a prominent Sikh leader in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging India to take allegations that the country had a role in the death of a Canadian citizen seriously, after New Delhi called the claims “absurd and motivated.”

Trudeau revealed Monday that Canadian intelligence services are investigating “credible” information about “a potential link” between India’s government and the death of British Columbia Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Trudeau says India’s government “needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness” but would not say whether it is co-operating.

Ottawa has ordered a senior Indian diplomat to leave Canada, and India responded by sending an unnamed Canadian diplomat packing.

Trudeau says he waited until he was able to raise the issue with allies and with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi before telling the public about the possible link.

Nijjar was shot outside his gurdwara in Surrey, B.C., in June, with members of the Sikh community accusing the Indian government of being behind the killing and attempting to silence voices advocating for an independent Sikh country.

“One of the things that is so important today is that India and the government of India take seriously this matter,” Trudeau told reporters Tuesday on Parliament Hill. “It is extremely serious and it has far reaching consequences in international law.”

Trudeau also repeated his call for calm.

“We’re going to follow the evidence and make sure that the work is done to hold people accountable,” he said Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2023.

The Canadian Press