Sikh Leader's Murder: Canada's Allegations, India's Retort – What Led to This?

Canada's serious allegations. India's retort. Top diplomats expelled. Here's a quick timeline of the events.

5 min read
Sikh Leader's Murder: Canada's Allegations, India's Retort – What Led to This?
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Tensions between India and Canada have aggravated after the allegations by the latter that there is a "possible link" to show that India was involved in the killing of a Sikh leader on Canadian soil.

The events have thus folded at a lightning speed since 18 September (EDT, Canada's standard time). Among other issues, it is primarily the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar which took place three months ago that has propelled the politically sensitive and alarming situation.

Let's took a look at what went down in the past months.


18 June, Killing of Nijjar: Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a British Columbia Sikh leader, reportedly a part of a separatist movement was fatally shot inside of his car in the parking lot of a Sikh temple in Surrey, BC on 18 June.

Nijjar was gunned down by two unidentified assailants, leading to uproar among pro-Khalistani groups in Canada and across the world.

As per the Punjab police, he hailed from Jalandhar's Bharsingh Pura village and moved to Canada in 1996 and had later, he formed his own organisation Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF).

Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

3 July, India Summons Canadian Envoy: The Indian government summoned Canadian High Commissioner Cameron MacKay in response to a scheduled rally organised by Khalistan supporters in Toronto on 8 July.

This came a day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated, "giving space to Khalistan sympathisers can affect bilateral ties with India" on posters allegedly targeting Indian diplomats came forth in Canada, according to ANI.

15 August & a Protest: Independence Day celebrations were held at India’s missions in Canada, with a protest by pro-Khalistan elements taking place outside the Consulate in Vancouver.

While visibly enhanced security measures were in place, several protestors gathered outside the Consulate and an Indian flag was allegedly set ablaze. But, there were no disruptions to the celebrations at the Consulate, which included the traditional flag hoisting ceremony, earlier that morning.

2 September, Trade with Canada 'On Hold': An official from the Canadian government said they are pausing a trade mission to India planned for October This was few days before Trudeau arrived for the G20 summit in New Delhi.

9-10 September, A Rocky G20: Amid the G20 summit, India had conveyed to Canada its strong concerns about 'pro-Khalistan' elements promoting secessionism from Canadian soil and inciting violence against Indian diplomats.

On the other hand, Trudeau had addressed the media that both the topics — presence of 'Khalistani' Sikhs and alleged interference of India in Canada — came up during G20. He said, "Canada will always defend freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and peaceful protest. At the same time as we are always there to prevent violence, to push back against hatred."

Government's statement during G20.

(Photo Courtesy: PIB)

After a subdued presence at the G20 summit, the Canadian PM had prolonged his stay, courtesy an apparent technical snag in his plane and was only able to return on 12 September.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology of India.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Leader of Opposition, Conservative Party of Canada.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

14 September, Piyush Goyal's Statement: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal confirmed to First Post that the ongoing trade negotiation with Canada has frozen due to disagreements on “certain issues." Goyal’s remarks came soon after Canada cancelled a trade mission to India that was to arrive in Mumbai in October.

15 September, Canada's Trade Minister's Remarks: On 15 September, Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng stated that the trade mission to India was being postponed, an official said, reported Reuters. This came just days after the G20 summit and almost two weeks after Canada said that they're taking "stock" of the situation.


18 September, Trudeau Shoots Serious Allegations: During a session in the Canadian Parliament on Monday, Trudeau said that Canadian intelligence agencies have been looking into the allegations over Nijjar's killing and added that he has expressed their concerns high-level security and agencies in India and had "raised the issue very clearly" with PM Modi during G20.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty...Canada is a rule-of-law country, the protection of our citizens in defence of our sovereignty are fundamental."
Justin Trudeau

Melanie Joly, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs: Addressing the media, Melanie Joly said, "The allegations that a representative of a foreign government may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is not only troubling but is completely unacceptable. If proven true, this would be a grave violation of sovereignty and of the basic rule of how countries deal with each other."

She also added, "As of today and as of consequence, we have expelled a top Indian diplomat from Canada." Pavan Kumar Rai, a minister with the Indian mission, has been identified as the 'top diplomat' she spoke about.

Meanwhile, Opposition leaders in Canada have also admonished India in the same allegations, including Pierre Poilievre, leader of Conservative Party and Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada's New Democratic Party.


19 September, India Rejects Allegations: Denying the accusations of being involved in Nijjar's murder, MEA issued a statement stating that "India's involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and completely rejected."

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

MEA denies allegations by Canada.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

India Expels Top Canadian Diplomat: Hours after the news made headlines that Canada had expelled a top Indian diplomat, now confirmed to be Pawan Rai, India had also summoned the High Commissioner of Canada "to expel a senior Canadian diplomat" in the country.

The Quint has learnt that the expelled diplomat is Olivier Sylvestere, a high-ranking intelligence officer in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and top diplomat in India.

India expels a senior Canadian diplomat.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

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Topics:  Sikh   MEA   Canada 

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