WITH no chargesheet nor a trial, it took Canada just three months to conclude that there was a ‘potential link’ between Indian government agents and the killing of pro-Khalistan terror accused Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia on June 18. Addressing the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian security agencies were ‘actively pursuing credible allegations’, adding that ‘any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.’ After Trudeau’s statement, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly announced that a top Indian diplomat had been expelled from Canada.
Such alacrity was conspicuous by its absence when Canada witnessed the worst terrorist attack in its history, the Air India bombing on June 23, 1985, that killed all 329 people aboard, mostly Canadians of Indian origin. No urgency was shown to make an announcement in the House of Commons about the culprits or the probe within three months of the bombing. Canada not only failed to prevent the attack but also conducted a shoddy investigation — only one person (Inderjit Singh Reyat) was convicted in the case, and that too on the charge of perjury. In a damning report, the Justice John Major Commission said, ‘The level of error, incompetence and inattention which took place before the flight was sadly mirrored in many ways for many years, in how authorities, Governments and institutions dealt with the aftermath of the murder of so many innocents…’
Having denied justice to the Kanishka victims, Canada is now perturbed over the killing of Nijjar, who was accused by India’s National Investigation Agency of making efforts to revive terrorism in Punjab. If there is irrefutable evidence about the culpability of Indian agents, Ottawa should share it with New Delhi right away. Jumping to conclusions without a trial exposes Trudeau’s attempts to pander to radical groups threatening India’s territorial sovereignty. New Delhi has rightly expelled a Canadian diplomat in retaliation. Such firmness is a must to make Ottawa mend its ways.
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