Khalistan Separatist Atwal’s Invitation to Trudeau’s Dinner Nixed
A day after Justin Trudeau assured Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh that Canada didn't support any separatist movement, the Khalistan issue has come to haunt the visiting Prime Minister.
A huge controversy erupted when news emerged that an invitation has been extended to Khalistan separatist Jaspal Atwal, who was also convicted of attempted assassination in Canada in 1987, for the reception to be held at the residence of Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel in New Delhi on Thursday.
Compelled to take cognisance of the matter, the High Commission later rescinded the invitation.
According to a CBC News report, Atwal, who belonged to an illegal Sikh separatist group, was photographed with Trudeau’s wife Sophie at an event in Mumbai on 20 February.
We Are Trying to Find out How Atwal Got a Visa: MEA
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it is trying to fetch details from its mission on how Atwal got a visa.
MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “There are two aspects to it – presence and visa. The Canadian side has already clarified that the invitation has been withdrawn. About the Visa I don't know how it happened. We will ascertain information from our Commission.”
Who is Jaspal Atwal?
Atwal was convicted in Canada for attempting the murder of the then-Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu on Vancouver Island in 1986, the report stated. Atwal admitted that he was one of four men who ambushed and shot at Sidhu's car. Atwal is reportedly a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation, a banned 'terrorist’ group in Canada, the UK, the US and India.
This is not the first time that Atwal been embroiled in violation of law and order. He was charged for brutally attacking Ujjal Dosanjh, a vocal critic of the Sikh movement in 1985, the CBC report mentioned. In a case of stealing, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia won a $28,000 judgment against Atwal over a stolen car ring involving Atwal's son, Vik.
Opposition Rakes up a Storm
Meanwhile, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah called out the Indian government for giving him visa in the first place.
The incident comes after the Canadian PM met Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday, 21 February, and assured him that Canada did not support separatism in India or elsewhere as he pitched for greater cooperation.
The CM also handed PM Trudeau a list of nine Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in promoting radicalism as the ‘Khalistan’ issue featured prominently in the talks between the two leaders.
(With inputs from CBC News)
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