TORONTO: Reacting to an Indian national being indicted in an American Federal Court in connection with a thwarted plot to murder Sikhs for Justice or SFJ general counsel Gurpatwant Pannun, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that India needs to take “seriously” concerns over its link to the killing of Khalistani figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18.
“The news coming out of the United States further underscores what we’ve been talking about from the very beginning: which is India needs to take this seriously,” he told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday.
“The Indian government needs to work with us to ensure that we’re getting to the bottom of this. This is not something that anyone can take lightly,” he added.
Canada’s minister of foreign affairs Melanie Joly, who is in Brussels, echoed Trudeau’s views while speaking to the media, as she said, “We call on India to engage in our own in our own investigation. And I think it is important that they do so.”
She said she was in contact with external affairs minister S Jaishankar and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken on the matter. “We expect more cooperation on their part and more engagement on their part,” she said.
Meanwhile, public safety minister Dominic LeBlanc said, “I think what was filed in a US court today confirms that Canada is not alone at managing these particular threats.” He also stressed there was “very, very high level of collaboration” between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other intelligence partners in the United States.
The unsealed indictment against Nikhil Gupta in a Federal Court in New York linked the Pannun attempt to the killing of Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia.
Gupta had allegedly mentioned a “big target” in Canada. In a call, he had also apparently talked of “four jobs”. Three of them were to be in Canada.
In October, the Canadian daily Globe and Mail had reported that three persons were formally warned by law enforcement that their lives were in danger. They included Moninder Singh, former president of the Dasmesh Darbar Gurdwara Sahib and an associate of Nijjar’s Gurmeet Singh Toor, along with a third unidentified person.
Nijjar was the principal figure for SFJ in the province of British Columbia.
On September 18, Trudeau stated in the House of Commons there were “credible allegations” of a potential link” between Indian agents and Nijjar’s killings. Canadian officials had stated at the time that conclusion was derived from information that came from a Five Eyes partner, which is believed to be the US.
While India has already ordered a high-level inquiry related to the US case, such action has yet to be taken with regard to Canada, as India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma said in a TV interview on Sunday, Canada had yet to provide “specific and relevant” information.