Canada is urging India to cooperate more fully with its investigation into the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader on Canadian soil, after the US charged an Indian citizen with murder-for-hire in connection with the case.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that the US indictment “underscores” what Canada has been saying since the beginning, that the Indian government may have been involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, B.C., on June 18.
Nijjar was an outspoken supporter of the creation of a separate Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, which would include parts of India’s Punjab state.
The US indictment, unsealed on Wednesday, accuses Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta and an unnamed Indian government employee of conspiring to assassinate Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York City.
Pannun is the legal adviser of Sikhs for Justice, a US-based group that advocates for a referendum on Khalistan.
According to the indictment, Gupta and the Indian government employee hired four men to kill Pannun, but the plot was foiled by the FBI. The indictment also alleges that Gupta was involved in the murder of Nijjar, and that he received money from the Indian government for his services.