US backs Canada’s 'critical' investigation into Sikh leader murder

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Canadas Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada November 22, 2021. — Reuters/File
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada November 22, 2021. — Reuters/File 

The White House stated on Tuesday that the US is "deeply concerned" about Justin Trudeau's claims that Indian government agents were involved in the assassination of a Khalistani leader in British Columbia in June.

Justin Trudeau on Monday claimed that there are "credible allegations of a potential link" between the slaying of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June and Indian government agents.

However, India has refuted the assertion, calling it "absurd and motivated", The Hindustan Times reported.

"We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau earlier today," White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

She added: “We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

Mélanie Joly, Canada's foreign minister, announced the expulsion of a "top Indian diplomat" in response to Justin Trudeau's assertion in the Canadian Parliament.

On June 18, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, was fatally murdered in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia.

Due to his involvement in pro-Khalistan activities, the Indian government had already labelled him as a terrorist.

Similar claims were made by Justin Trudeau to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting on September 10 and "were completely rejected," according to a statement from India's external affairs ministry.

“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The inaction of the Canadian government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern,” the statement said.