India, Canada Spar Over Terrorist Who ‘Bombed’ Trudeau’s India Trip
REUTERS/ Adnan AbidiAsia & Pacific19:00 28.02.2018(updated 19:31 28.02.2018) Get short URL
Trudeau’s recent visit to India was mired in controversy with the Indian media accusing the Canadian PM of supporting and harboring the Khalistani separatist Jaspal Atwal, who was convicted of attempting to murder the then Indian Prime Minister in Vancouver in 1986.
New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has rubbished Canada’s conspiracy theory regarding terror convicted Sikh separatist leader Jaspal Atwal being spotted with the Canadian prime minister’s entourage during his recently concluded India visit.
The statement came in response to reports in the Canadian media quoting top officials and diplomats who said they believed the presence of Atwal was part of a conspiracy by “rogue” elements within the Indian establishment to embarrass Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement claiming that the Indian government, including the security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Atwal at the dinner event, hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in New Delhi.
READ MORE: Convicted Terrorist Spotted With Trudeau’s Wife, India to Launch Probe
“Let me categorically state that the Government of India, including the security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at the event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in Mumbai or the invitation issued to him for the Canadian High Commissioner’s reception in New Delhi. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable,” Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday.
The invitation extended to Jaspal Atwal for dinner at the Canadian High Commissioner’s office in honor of visiting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stoked a huge controversy in India, where the media accused the Canadian establishment of harboring the terror convicted Khalistani separatist. Following the controversy, the invitation extended to Atwal was withdrawn by the Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel. Later on, Canadian media reported that officials in Ottawa believed that Atwal’s presence was an attempt by “rogue” elements in the Indian establishment to embarrass Trudeau on the issue of Sikh separatist activity on Canadian soil.
On Tuesday, Trudeau was heard backing the conspiracy theory in the Canadian parliament. “Our professional, non-partisan public service does high-quality work and when one of our top diplomats and security officials says something to Canadians, it’s because they know it to be true,” Trudeau said in a response to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s question about the “allegations.”
Jaspal Atwal belongs to the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF). The ISYF leads the Khalistan movement and seeks to carve out an independent state (Khalistan) for the Sikhs by disintegrating the territory from India.