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India Protest against Canadian Parliament Paying Tribute to Nijjar

India Protest against Canadian Parliament Paying Tribute to Nijjar

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NEW DELHI, June 21: India has protested against the Canadian Parliament observing a minute’s silence in memory of the Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar who was killed outside a gurdwara in Canada’s British Columbia province last year.

The external affairs ministry in its weekly briefing said on Friday that India lodged the protest with the Canadian High Consulate in Delhi and asked for appropriate action. The Indian government will “naturally oppose any move giving political space to extremism and advocacy of violence,” the ministry spokesman said.

A video of the event showed MPs observing silence after Speaker Greg Fergus said, “… I understand there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence in memory of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, assassinated in Surrey one year ago today.”

Nijjar was wanted in India for being the “mastermind” of the Khalistani Tiger Force, a designated terror group in this country. Last July, anti-terror agency NIA announced a cash reward of ₹ 10 lakh for the capture of Nijjar in connection with the murder of a Hindu priest in Punjab’s Jalandhar. Nijjar is also accused in the 2007 bombing of a cinema in Punjab.

On his killing, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed “agents” of the Indian government were involved in killing Nijjar, a Canadian citizen. Those allegations, repeated frequently since, have led to tense relations between the two nations, including awkward moments between the Canadian leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi when India held the G20 Summit last year.

India has firmly rubbished Canada’s allegations, calling them “absurd” and “motivated” and noting that Mr Trudeau has yet to provide evidence, of any sort, to back his claim. “Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists… who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Inaction of Canada is a matter of continuing concern,” the Indian side had side.

Nijjar’s murder is being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and four Indian nationals have been arrested. On the Canadian parliament’s move to honour the memory of Nijjar, the Indian consulate in Vancouver announced a memorial service – to be held on Sunday – to pay tribute to the 329 victims of the Air India flight bombed by Khalistani terrorists in 1985.

The Air India Flight travelling from Montreal to London had blown up 31,000 feet above the ground when a bomb planted by Canadian Sikh terrorists went off. The 329 passengers killed in the incident included 268 Canadian citizens, 27 British citizens, and 24 Indian citizens. This bombing is among the deadliest acts of aviation terrorism.

On that subject an Indian-origin Canada MP, Chandra Arya, said the ideology responsible for the terrorist attack is still alive among a few people in his country. Speaking in the Canadian Parliament, he said the celebration of ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by “Khalistani supporters” demonstrated that “dark forces have been energised again.” He also highlighted the concerns of Hindu Canadians regarding recent incidents.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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