India accuses Canada of harboring terrorists
Indian government officials have claimed that Canadian authorities have granted asylum or citizenship to individuals facing serious terrorism charges in India, allowing them to operate freely from Canadian soil.
Indian officials alleged that Canada is hosting at least nine separatist organizations that have openly espoused threats of assassination, promoted secessionist agendas, and engaged in targeted killings within India.
They claim that Ottawa has not taken any action against individuals involved in serious crimes, including the murder of the renowned Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala. In contrast, New Delhi’s extradition requests for individuals associated with these organizations have gone unanswered.
The list of organizations India considers to have “direct affiliation to terror elements” include the World Sikh Organization, the Khalistan Tiger Force, Sikhs for Justice, and Babbar Khalsa International. Requests for extradition or action on dozens of Sikh activists were issued by India, with some of the names on the list including Gurwant Singh Bath, Bhagat Singh Brar, Moninder Singh Bual, and Satinder Pal Singh Gill.
Emphasizing that Sikh activists are involved in “turf wars” between political and religious groups in Canada, officials in New Delhi have claimed the demise of pro-Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar could be one such case, dismissing Canada’s recent allegations against India as “incorrect and based on unsubstantiated assumptions.”
Indian media reports suggest that in 2015 Nijjar was recruited by the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, which assisted him in arranging clandestine training camps for Sikh extremist factions linked to the Khalistan movement in British Columbia, Canada. Nijjar was believed to be a part of several organizations with terrorist links. He was listed as an “individual terrorist” by India in 2020 for “training and financing” other separatists.
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau sparked a diplomatic standoff between Ottawa and New Delhi on Monday when he spoke before the Canadian Parliament, saying his government was investigating “credible allegations” that the Indian government had assassinated Nijjar earlier this year, without revealing evidence.
Later, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced the immediate expulsion of a senior Indian diplomat, Pavan Kumar Rai, who she claims was the local head of India’s foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. Hours later, India responded with a symmetrical move, ordering an Indian diplomat, identified in Indian media reports as Olivier Sylvestre, Canada’s intelligence agency’s station chief in New Delhi, to leave within five days.
According to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, the allegations from Canada of India’s alleged involvement in Nijjar’s murder had been flagged to New Delhi through security and diplomatic channels before the accusations became public.