The US is “deeply concerned” over accusations by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Khalistani leader in British Columbia in June, the White House said. Justin Trudeau said that there are “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. The claim was rejected by the Indian side as “absurd and motivated”.

Canada prime minister Justin Trudeau(AP)
Canada prime minister Justin Trudeau(AP)

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau earlier today,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement, adding, “We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

After Justin Trudeau’s claim in Canada’s Parliament, the country’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly announced the expulsion of a “top Indian diplomat”, identifying the diplomat as Pavan Kumar Rai, the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Canada, according to public broadcaster CBC.

India’s external affairs ministry said in a statement that similar allegations were made by Justin Trudeau to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting on September 10 and “were completely rejected”.

“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. The inaction of the Canadian government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern,” the statement said.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead in the parking lot of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in the town of Surrey in British Columbia on June 18. He was a Canadian citizen and was earlier designated a terrorist by the Indian government for his involvement in pro-Khalistan activities.