With India and Canada in the middle of a worsening standoff over the killing of Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, MEA spokesperson Arindham Bagchi, in its latest media briefing, said that Canada has not shared any specific intel on the case yet. He also said, “If you’re talking about reputational issues, if there’s any country that needs to look at it, I think it is Canada and its growing reputation as a place, as a safe haven for terrorists.”
Bagchi confirmed that Canada shared no specific information regarding the allegations. “From our side, very specific evidence of criminal activities based on Canadian soil has been shared with the Canadian authorities on a regular basis but has not been acted upon,” the MEA spokesperson said.
The allegations were raised by Trudeau with PM Modi when Trudeau was in India to attend the G20 summit and was rejected by PM Modi, the MEA reiterated.
Canada is providing safe havens to terrorists and at least 20-25 individuals were named by India, not recently, but over the years, but no action was taken, the MEA said.
The ministry of external affairs on Thursday said Canada’s allegations against India are politically driven. The statement came from MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during the weekly media briefing at a time India and Canada’s diplomatic ties are going through the roughest patch.
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged Indian involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, wanted in India for years. The public allegations strained the India-Canada relationship with both countries expelling their diplomats. On Thursday, India’s visa processing centre in Canada suspended services.
“We are aware of the security threats being faced by our high commission and consulates in Canada. This has disrupted their normal functioning. Accordingly, our high commission and consulates are temporarily unable to process visa applications. We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis,” the MEA spokesperson said. The e-visa services are also suspended, the MEA clarified.
On Wednesday, India told its citizens to avoid traveling to parts of Canada, following a diplomatic row sparked by the allegation that New Delhi was involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist near Vancouver.
Earlier, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal met with Home Minister Amit Shah, and urged for a “quick resolution” amid escalating tensions. “A panic-like situation is developing among the the Indian people in Canada,” he said.
Meanwhile, Canada has released a statement saying that they are temporarily adjusting staff presence and added High Commission and all consulates in India are open and operational. New Delhi also stopped visa services in the North American country today. This comes a day after India issued a strongly-worded advisory to Indian nationals in Canada warning against “anti-India activities” and “politically-condoned hate crimes”.
Meanwhile, Sukhdool Singh Gill alias Sukha Duneke, an alleged ally of the Bambiha gang, was shot dead in Canada’s Winnipeg by unidentified assailants. According to Punjab police officials, Duneke had fled to Canada in 2017, and had since been running an extortion racket.
Moments after news of his death surfaced, two rival Punjabi gangsters — Lawrence Bishnoi and Jaggu Bhagwanpuria — both claimed responsibility for the killing. The conflict first broke out earlier this week, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged there was a “potential link” between “agents of the Government of India” and the killing of Nijjar.