‘Canada has not shared any relevant evidence’: MEA on arrest of 3 Indians in Nijjar killing

There are political interests at work, says MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal

Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh

Days after three Indians were arrested in Canada in connection with the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, New Delhi said there has been no official communication from Ottawa in this regard.

“Canada has informed us about the arrest. But we have not got any formal communication,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on Thursday. He said Canada has not yet shared any specific or relevant evidence or information with India on the alleged involvement of the Indian nationals in the killing of Nijjar.

"Let me first make it clear that no specific or relevant evidence or information has been shared by the Canadian authorities in regard to this matter till date. You will therefore understand our view that the matter is being pre-judged,” Jaiswal said during a media interaction.

The spokesperson reiterated India’s charges that separatists, extremists and those supporting violence are being given political space in Canada. “Obviously, there are political interests at work,” he added.

Jaiswal noted that many of those associated with organised crimes in India have been given entry and residency in Canada, while many extradition requests made by New Delhi are still pending.

Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, was shot dead outside a gurdwara in Surrey on June 18, 2023. The killing sparked a wave of protests, with some Sikh groups circulating posters that threatened Indian diplomats in Canada by name.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Prime Minister Trudeau's allegations in September last year of a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

New Delhi rejected Trudeau's charges as "absurd".

Last week, three Indians—Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22, and Karanpreet Singh, 28—were arrested and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The three—who are alleged to be members of a hit squad— appeared separately by video in the Surrey provincial courtroom on Tuesday to acknowledge the charges of first-degree murder and conspiring to commit murder and to agree to have their cases adjourned to May 21 to give them time to consult with their lawyers.

Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly said her government stands by the allegations that India had a role in the killing of Nijjar. “Canada's position has always been clear. Our job is to protect Canadians and we stand by the allegations that a Canadian was killed on Canadian soil by Indian agents. Now, the investigation by the RCMP is being done,” she said.

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