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The reason for months of deteriorating India-Canada relations finally becomes apparent when Justin Trudeau publicly accuses India of carrying out the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead by two masked gunmen in British Columbia in June 2023. The dramatic announcement was made at the opening of Parliament with the calculated aim by the Prime Minister to embellish his self-image as a righteous crusader. However, making it a showboating spectacle further demonstrates his immaturity and lack of good judgment, more suited to uttering tired platitudes during photo-ops and hobnobbing with the world s elite. What did he hope to accomplish? The only possible outcome is the total destruction of the relationship between the two countries and there is no going back from that. There has been no evidence supplied to support this claim, although the U.S. ambassador to Canada has said, "There was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners" that helped lead Canada to make the statements that the prime minister made.

Of course, with this theatrical distraction, Trudeau delayed having to face the real problems with his government and its policies in Parliament as his popularity and the Liberals continued to plummet and Canadians look for solutions to real problems facing the country. In a further deterioration of relations between the two countries, India kicked out 41 of the 62 Canadian diplomats in the country.

India Trudeau ProtestIndia has always accused Canada of providing a safe haven for Sikh activists and described Mr. Nijjar as a terrorist who led a militant separatist group. He used a false passport to enter Canada in 1997 and made a refugee claim. In a sworn affidavit, he indicated that his brother, father and uncle had all been arrested, and he himself had been tortured by police. His claim was rejected, as officials thought his documentation was partially fabricated; officials suspected that a letter, supposedly written by an Indian physician and attesting to his torture, was forged. The panel wrote that it did "not believe that the claimant was arrested by the police and that he was tortured by the police". Eleven days after his claim was denied, Nijjar married a woman who sponsored his immigration. Officials noted that the woman had arrived in Canada in 1997, married to another man, and rejected the claim as a marriage of convenience. In 2001, Nijjar appealed this ruling but lost. But, for unknown reasons, he was ultimately permitted entry into Canada and became a Canadian citizen in May 2007.

The Indian government accused Nijjar of being the leader of pro-Khalistan militant group Khalistan Tiger Force. India issued two Interpol red notices against Nijjar in 2014 and 2016. The first accused him of being a "mastermind/active member" of Khalistan Tiger Force and said that suspects arrested in connection with the 2007 Shingaar cinema hall bomb blast had implicated him. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Canadian lawyer, activist, and associate of Nijjar's, said that Nijjar was acquitted of involvement in the conspiracy. Pannun is also a designated terrorist in India. The Indian government alleged that Nijjar visited Pakistan in 2013-14, where he met with militant leader Jagtar Singh Tara of Babbar Khalsa International, and was recruited by Pakistan's intelligence agency. The 2016 notice issued by Indian authorities accused Nijjar of being the "mastermind and key conspirator of many terrorist acts in India". In 2015, the Indian government asked Canadian authorities to surveil Nijjar, alleging that he was involved in a plot to transport ammunition into using a paraglider.

In November 2023 it was revealed that the FBI had thwarted a plot to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a dual Canadian and American citizen who was a general counsel for Sikhs for Justice a U.S. group who are working to establish an independent Sikh state. The U.S. government issued a warning to India over concerns that it was involved in the plot.

There have been four men arrested in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. There has been no word of any alleged link to the Indian government.