India-Canada relations hit a new low after the Canadian government accused Indian agencies of being involved in the killing of Canadian national and pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
What's significant is that the allegation was made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Canadian Parliament and the country's government later briefed other countries like the US and the UK on India's alleged role in Nijjar's killing.
The response in India has been on expected lines, with the Indian government flatly denying Canada's accusations and in turn accusing it of giving asylum to pro-Khalistan extremists.
The main Opposition, the Congress, has backed the government on this.
The party's general secretary in-charge for communications, Jairam Ramesh, posted on X:
"The Indian National Congress has always believed that our country's fight against terrorism has to be uncompromising, especially when terrorism threatens India's sovereignty, unity and integrity. Our country's interests and concerns must be kept paramount at all times".Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary
The party's national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi went a step further and called the Canadian PM a joker.
Here's what he posted on X:
Silence in Punjab
However, politicians and parties in Punjab have remained mostly silent on the matter, especially as the matter involves an alleged extra-judicial killing.
There has been no official statement from any senior leader from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress, and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).
However, SAD (Badal) general secretary Parambans Singh Romana posted an even-handed statement that emphasised on India's territorial integrity while condemning extra-judicial killings. He posted on X:
SAD (Amritsar) chief and Sangrur MP Simrajit Singh Mann reposted two older videos of his on his Instagram account. In one video, Mann is raising the issue of Nijjar's killing in the Lok Sabha, in the second video he is accusing the Indian government of killing pro-Khalistan youth.
SGPC Issues a Statement
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Harjinder Singh Dhami issued a statement on the issue. He said:
"The Sikh community has gone through many painful times, including the June 1984 military attack on Sachkhand Sri Harmandir Sahib and Akal Takht Sahib, the 1984 Sikh Genocide and the extra-judicial killings of Sikh youths of a decade. The Sikh community living across the globe can never forget this pain. Even today, the Sikhs living in many countries have been deprived of coming to their homeland and of paying obeisance at the sacred shrines of their Gurus (religious masters)."
"Canada's allegations around the murder of Harjeet Singh Nijjar are very serious and this will affect the Sikh community globally. The truth needs to come out on these accusations and India and Canada need to talk and work together."
Dhami also raised concerns over a report from Australia that Sikhs may have been wrongly accused in an attack on a Hindu temple and that the act was allegedly an inside job. Dhami said that this was an attempt to "malign the Sikh community and harm the respect it had attained across the world".