The recent diplomatic tensions between India and Canada regarding the murder of a Sikh Canadian citizen, also a supporter of the Khalistan movement, have reached alarming levels. While India attempts to brush this issue under the rug or hide behind the façade of being ‘targeted unfairly’, its affinity for tampering in the affairs of another country—be in Canada or Pakistan—is exposing itself. Canadian PM Trudeau has repeatedly mentioned that he has credible information linking the BJP government to the killing, alluding to this being a state-sanctioned terrorist attack. Surely this is not something the world can take lightly.
The assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader campaigning for an independent Sikh homeland, is more than mere allegations. It is pertinent to mention here that the Khalistan movement is outlawed in India, and proponents have been subjected to unwarranted arrests and attacks over the course of decades. In fact, in its defence to PM Trudeau’s accusation, India’s foreign office reiterated that Khalistanis are ‘terrorists’ and ‘extremists’, terming the Canadian premier’s remarks as ‘absurd and motivated’. They are anything but. Given the extensive history supporting India as the aggressor against the Sikh community, and keeping in mind the depravity and fear with which they live in India currently, such claims hardly hold true. In fact, all it does is undermine the bilateral relations between India and Canada further.
The killing of another Sikh community member shortly after Nijjar’s assassination adds weight to the argument that this problem is escalating. Diplomats have been expelled and trade has been halted. This new killing only proves that there is a larger problem at play here. The fact that two separate incidents occurred within such a short span of time raises suspicions of further involvement by India. This not only demands a sincere introspection within India but also deserves a justified backlash from the international community until the truth is uncovered and justice is served. Surely if India can resent the Sikh community for ‘threatening India’s sovereignty’, Canada’s hesitation and offence at such developments is understandable and worth empathising with.
Any such allegations should be dealt with utmost seriousness. By cooperating, instead of resisting, the investigation, India can demonstrate its commitment to justice while safeguarding the trust and relations between the two nations. The international community, including the United States, has encouraged India to work with Canada towards a resolution. It is essential to remember that justice and accountability should always take precedence over political disputes.