Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder: India suspends visa services as rift with Canada widens

TORONTO (AP) — The allegation of India’s involvement in the killing of a Sikh Canadian is based on surveillance by Indian diplomats in Canada, including intelligence from a key ally, a Canadian official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The official said Indian officials and the Indian embassy in Canada were in contact and some intelligence was provided by a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Canada.

The official did not provide details on which partner provided the intelligence or what was in the communications or how they were received. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation first reported the intelligence.

Allegations of suspected Indian involvement in the assassination of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau widened as India stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens and told Canada to cut diplomatic staff. Hardeep Singh NijjarA 45-year-old Sikh separatist.

Relations between the two countries hit an all-time low after Trudeau told parliament on Monday that there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the massacre on Canadian soil.

Tensions between Canada and India have escalated with consular expulsions following allegations of Indian government involvement in the killing of a Sikh activist. (Sept. 20)

Nijjar, an Indian-born plumber who became a Canadian citizen in 2007, had been wanted by India for years before he was gunned down in June outside the temple he led in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver.

He spoke on Thursday UN General AssemblyTrudeau acknowledged the complicated diplomatic situation.

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“The decision to share these allegations on the floor of the House of Commons was not taken lightly,” he said. “There is no doubt that India is a country of growing importance and one that we must continue to work with.”

“We’re not looking to stir up trouble or cause trouble, but we’re unequivocal around the importance of the rule of law and we’re unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians.”

There was a bomb allegation International tit-for-tat, each country expels a diplomat. India called the allegations “absurd”.

Canada has yet to provide public evidence to back up Trudeau’s allegations, and Canada’s UN ambassador, Bob Rae, has indicated that will not be forthcoming.

“It’s very early days,” Ray told reporters Thursday, adding that while the facts will emerge, “they have to come out in pursuit of justice.”

“That’s what we call the rule of law in Canada,” he said.

Meanwhile, the company that processes Indian visas in Canada has announced the suspension of its services. According to India’s Bureau of Immigration, Canadians will top the list of visitors to India with 277,000 Canadian tourists in 2022.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagshi blamed the visa suspension, which includes visas issued in third countries, on security issues.

“The security threats facing our embassies and embassies in Canada have disrupted their normal functioning,” Baxi told reporters. He did not provide any details about the threat.

The announcement soon made waves across Canada, especially among people with ties to India.

Maitreyi Bhatt, a 27-year-old Indian citizen, is from Canada and needs a visa because his wedding is scheduled for late October in India, as he was to meet his family for the first time.

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“I’ve been crying all day,” she said. “It’s so hard. I was so excited for him to meet my family.

He said the venue was booked and the couple had non-refundable flights. She said her partner went to the Indian consulate in Toronto but was escorted out by security.

“People like me are caught up in this and it’s not fair,” he said.

Sukhwinder Dhillon, a 56-year-old grocery store owner in Montreal, said he planned the trip to India to see family and settle his late father’s estate. Dillon, who came to Canada in 1998 and travels every two or three years, has lost two family members from his last home.

“My father passed and my brother passed,” Dhillon said. “I have to go now. … Now I don’t know when we will go.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Baxi called on Canada to reduce its diplomatic force in India, saying it outnumbered Indian diplomats.

The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi said on Thursday that its embassies in India are open and continuing to serve customers. Canada expects India to provide security to its diplomats and diplomatic staff working there, saying some of its diplomats have received threats on social media.

On Wednesday, India warned its citizens Caution should be exercised when traveling to Canada due to “growing anti-Indian activities and politically condoned hate crimes”.

India’s security and intelligence services have long been active in South Asia and are suspected of many murders in Pakistan. But organizing the killing of a Canadian citizen in Canada, home to nearly 2 million people of Indian origin, would be unprecedented.

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India has for years criticized Canada for granting freedom to Sikh separatists including Nijjar. New Delhi has accused him of links to terrorism, which he denies.

Nijjar was once a local leader to build a strong movement An independent Sikh homeland, called Khalistan. A bloody Sikh insurgency rocked northern India in the 1970s and 1980s, which was crushed by a government crackdown that killed thousands of people, including prominent Sikh leaders.

Although the violent insurgency ended decades ago, the Indian government has warned that Sikh separatists will try to make a comeback, pushing countries like Canada, where Sikhs make up more than 2% of the population, to do more to stop them.

At the time of his assassination, Nijjar was working to organize an unofficial Sikh diaspora referendum on independence from India.

New Delhi has concerns about Sikh separatist groups in Canada A strain in the relationship for a long time.

In March, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government summoned the Canadian high commissioner in New Delhi to report on Sikh freedom struggles in Canada.

Signs of a wider diplomatic rift emerged at a summit of the Group of 20 leading global economies hosted by India earlier this month. Trudeau had frosty meetings with Modi, days after Canada canceled a trade trip to India planned for the fall. The trade agreement between the two is currently suspended.

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Associated Press journalists Ashok Sharma and Kritika Pati in New Delhi contributed reporting.

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