A Calgary radio news director is expressing disbelief after the prime minister made disturbing accusations earlier this week.
RED FM Calgary’s Rishi Nagar said it was “surprising” after Justin Trudeau sent shockwaves through Parliament with “credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, last June.
“It was shocking news, neither good nor bad,” says Nagar.
“But we felt, the community felt relieved, at least we could know who the culprit was or who could be the culprit.”
The Indian government has since denied the allegations, but it has caused a rift and increased tensions between the two countries.
On Monday, Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat, while India would later expel a Canadian envoy. On Wednesday, India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a travel advisory reporting a growing number of anti-Indian activities in Canada.
“Things are getting worse. Relations between Canada and India are now strained,” says Nagar.
Dr. Harjeet Singh Grewal, professor of Sikh studies in the Department of Cla*sics and Religion at the University of Calgary, said he was also surprised by the announcement.
“We have to keep in mind that these are strong allegations, that they are going through a legal process and that there is an ongoing investigation,” says Dr. Grewal.
“This is a serious concern for Canadian sovereignty and all Canadian citizens should be concerned. This is an affront to Canadian sovereignty in accordance with international laws and UN conventions.
According to Dr. Grewal, there has been a long-standing issue for decades regarding an alleged history of foreign interference by the Indian government that allegedly followed the Sikh community into Canada, making them feel unsafe in the country.
In fashion now
He says that while CSIS and the RCMP have reported on these cases, he believes the Canadian government has been “on the sidelines until now.”
“Unfortunately, it took the loss of Hardeep Singh Nijjar to prompt a Canadian government to raise these issues,” he said.
“So I think we are in unprecedented waters here in terms of the potential for international crime.”
– with files from David Baxter of PKBNEWS
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