Tuesday, September 19, 2023
LONDON: Leading pro-Khalistan Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) has called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately expel India’s High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Verma from Canada after the Canadian prime minister confirmed that the Indian government was behind Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar's assassination in Vancouver around three months ago.
Pro-Khalistan Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan and local leader of Sikhs For Justice and Khalistan Referendum campaign, was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.
In a shocking statement before the parliament on Monday evening, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada’s national security agencies are investigating "credible allegations" that the "agents of the government of India" were involved in the killing of prominent Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver in June.
"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," Trudeau said, addressing the House of Commons about an "extremely serious matter," after informing the opposition party leaders.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said the head of Indian intelligence in Canada has been expelled as a consequence. “If proven true this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other,” Joly said. “As a consequence, we have expelled a top Indian diplomat.”
Canada has named the diplomat who has been expelled for plotting to kill Hardeep Singh Nijjar. His name is Pavan Kumar Rai, the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's foreign intelligence agency, in Canada, operating from the Indian High Commission.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is SFJ General Counsel and Attorney at Law in New York, said that Trudeau's statement before the parliament had established beyond any doubt that India organised the assassination of Nijjar who was head of Canadian Chapter of Khalistan Referendum and a close friend of Pannun. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said expelling the head of RAW from Canadian Indian High Commission was not enough and India’s High Commissioner should be expelled.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said: "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement in the Parliament corroborates SFJ's stance on Nijjar's assassination. SFJ has been saying since the day of the assassination of Nijjar that this is handy work of Indian agencies and Indian agents active on Canadian soil. Nijjar has been assassinated by India for leading the Canadian Chapter of Khalistan Referendum. That is why SFJ has given a call for holding ‘Shaheed Nijjar Referendum’ on October 29 in Surrey BC.”
He added: “Now, we ask PM Trudeau to declare Sanjay Verma Indian High Commissioner to Canada as persona non grata and expel him from Canada with immediate effect. SFJ has been writing to PM Trudeau voting him about Indian intervention since 2022 when we had first voting for the Khalistan Referendum in Toronto on September 18, 2022. After Nijjar’s assassination we again wrote to the Prime Minister. It’s now urgent that the Indian diplomats are held accountable.”
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun: “This is victory of Sikh people’s ballot in Khalistan Referendum over India’s bullets fired upon Shaheed Nijjar. We said we will respond to India’s bullets with ballots and we have shown the world that India is terrorists and not the pro Khalistan Sikhs.”
Trudeau told Parliament that he brought up the slaying with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-20 last week, that he told Modi that any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and that he asked for cooperation in the investigation.
“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,” Trudeau said in Parliament.
Trudeau said Canada has declared its deep concerns to the Indian government. “Last week at the G-20 I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms,” Trudeau said. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”
Trudeau said his government has been working closely and coordinating with Canada’s allies on the case. “In the strongest possible terms I continue to urge the government of India to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.
Trudeau said he knows there are some members of the Indo-Canadian community who feel angry or frightened, and he called for calm.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada’s national security advisor and the head of Canada’s spy service have travelled to India to meet their counterparts and to confront the Indian intelligence agencies with the allegations.
He called it an active homicide investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Relations between Canada and India have been tense in recent months. Canada just cancelled a trade mission to India that was planned for the fall.
Opposition Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said if the allegations are true they represent ”an outrageous affront to our sovereignty.”
Opposition New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, who is himself Sikh, called it outrageous and shocking. Singh said he grew up hearing stories that challenging India’s record on human rights might prevent you from getting a visa to travel there.
“But to hear the prime minister of Canada corroborate a potential link between a murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil by a foreign government is something I could never have imagined,” Singh said.
On 10th of September, more than 135,000 Canadian Sikhs cast their votes in the Khalistan Referendum at Surrey BC’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara where Nijjar was assassinated. Thousands of local Sikhs made queues to cast their votes carrying posters of Sikh martyrs and chanting devotional and political slogans in support of Khalistan. The Gurdwara was plastered with wall-sized posters of Hardeep Singh Nijjar who was also president at the same Gurdwara until he was killed.
Sikhs For Justice General Counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told the huge crowd at the end of the voting that the Indian govt has yet again declared war on Sikhs by assassinating Hardeep Singh Nijjar. He vowed that Sikhs will avenge the brutal killing of Nijjar who was a peaceful activist and believed in democratic means.
He had said: “Indian diplomats in Canada, Indian intelligence agencies, Ajit Doval, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are directly involved in the killing of Hardeep Nijjar. India's political death is a writing on the wall. Sikhs will stop at nothing less than the Balkanisation of India.”