Canada expels Indian diplomat amid probe into exiled Sikh leader's murder

Canada and India have expelled top diplomats from each other’s countries amid growing tensions over a Canadian investigation into the killing of a Sikh activist in British Columbia that Canada says may be linked to the Indian government – an accusation that India rejected as “absurd” on Tuesday.

Trudeau said in Parliament on Monday that Canadian intelligence agencies have been looking into the allegations after Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia.

Nijjar was organising an unofficial referendum in India for an independent Sikh nation at the time of this death. Indian authorities announced a cash reward last year for information leading to Nijjar’s arrest, accusing him of involvement in an alleged attack on a Hindu priest in India.

The Sikh independence, or Khalistan, movement is banned in India, where officials see it and affiliated groups as a national security threat. But it movement still has some support in northern India, as well as countries like Canada and the United Kingdom which are home to a sizable Sikh diaspora.

Trudeau told Parliament that he brought up the slaying with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 last week. He said he told Modi that any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and that he asked for cooperation in the investigation.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said a top diplomat, who she said was the head of Indian intelligence in Canada, has been expelled as a consequence.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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