Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma has reiterated his call for Canada to furnish evidence substantiating allegations that India played a role in the death of pro-Khalistani citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The disagreement arose after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Indian government involvement in Nijjar’s murder, despite India labelling Nijjar a terrorist in 2020.
When asked about India’s perceived lack of cooperation following Trudeau’s allegations, Verma stated that there were two aspects to consider. Firstly, he questioned the fairness of convicting India before the investigation concluded, emphasizing the importance of the rule of law. When asked how India was convicted, he explained that the request for cooperation implied a presumption of guilt.
Despite differing interpretations, he asserted India’s willingness to examine specific and relevant information if communicated. Verma reiterated India’s position, highlighting the lack of substantial evidence from Canada or its allies concerning Nijjar’s killing. He underscored the absence of specific and relevant information crucial for the investigation, pointing out that India could not assist due to this deficiency.
Earlier this month, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Verma reiterated that Canada and its allies have not presented concrete evidence related to the Nijjar case. He stated that there is no specific or relevant information for India to assist in the investigation. Following Trudeau’s mention of “credible allegations” linking Indian agents to Nijjar’s killing on September 18, both nations expelled each other’s diplomats. Initially suspending visa services to Canada, India later eased restrictions for a select group. Verma, denying India’s involvement, suggested that Trudeau’s public statements had adversely affected the Canadian Police’s probe into the case.
The Indian government vehemently rejects “absurd” and “motivated” accusations of involvement in Nijjar’s death, urging Ottawa to share evidence supporting its claims. In response to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case, India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat. Verma, in an interview on Canada’s CTV channel, questioned the fairness of convicting India before the investigation’s conclusion, emphasizing the need for the rule of law.
He clarified that the request for cooperation implied a presumption of guilt but affirmed India’s readiness to investigate specific and relevant information. The High Commission of India in Canada recently reinstated the eVisa facility for eligible Canadian citizens from November 22, 2023.