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"People Linked To Organised Crime In Punjab Welcomed In Canada": Jaishankar

11:48 AM May 05, 2024 IST | 8PM News Desk
 people linked to organised crime in punjab welcomed in canada   jaishankar
"People linked to organised crime in Punjab welcomed in Canada": Jaishankar

Bhubaneswar : In a fresh critique of the Justine Trudeau-led dispensation for giving space and legitimacy to "extremism, separatism, and advocates of violence" in the name of free speech, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Canada has been issuing visas to people with links to organised crime despite warnings from New Delhi.

Sharing the stage with the state's intellectuals and professionals for an interaction on his book 'Why Bharat Matters', Jaishankar said some people in Canada, with 'pro-Pakistan leanings', have organised themselves politically and taken the shape of an influential political lobby.

On the rise of pro-Khalistani activities in Canada and the arrest of three Indians over their alleged involvement in the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Jaishankar said, "In some countries, these kinds of people have organised themselves politically and become a political lobby and in some of these democratic countries, the politicians of these countries are made to believe that if they defer to these people or pander to these people, these people have some ability to get a community to support them. So, they have tried to create space for themselves in the politics of these countries. I mean, at this time, it's not so much a problem in the US."

"Our biggest problem right now is in Canada. Because in Canada, actually, today the party in power in Canada, and other parties in Canada have given these kinds of extremism, separatism, and advocates of violence a certain legitimacy in the name of free speech. See, when you tell them something, their answer is no no we are a democratic country but it is free speech. The point that they need to understand, it is no longer a world that runs as a one-way street. If there are that which happen out there, there will be pushback. Newton's law of politics will apply there also. There will be a reaction. Others will take steps or counter it," he added.

He said he saw reports that three people have been arrested, and, the Canadian police have conducted 'some investigation'.

Nijjar was shot and killed after he had stepped out of a gurdwara in Surrey in June last year. A video clip of his killing reportedly surfaced in March this year, purportedly showing Nijjar being fatally shot by assailants, in what was claimed to be 'contract killing'.

Jaishankar said Canada has been welcoming people from India with links to organised crime, ignoring warnings by New Delhi.

"Often, when I see for example these kinds of attacks, threats to our embassies, because they concern me very deeply and I tell the foreign minister, suppose if (they) happened to you, if it was your embassy, your diplomat, your flag, how would you react. We have to keep our position strong on this particular report which has come. I also saw it yesterday night, I was coming to Odisha in the morning, somebody may have been arrested, their police may have done some investigation," Jaishankar said at the event.

"But, the fact is that a number of gangland people, a number of people with organised crime links from Punjab have been made welcome in Canada. We have been telling Canada saying look these are wanted criminals from India, you have given them visas. Many of them have come in false documentation and yet you allow them to live there. If you decide to import for political purposes people with very dubious, actually, very negative backgrounds, there will be issues, they have in some cases created problems in their own country as a result of their own policies. No, why would we fear, if something happens there, it is for them to worry about," he added.

On May 4, Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh levelled a fresh allegation of an India hand in the killing of Nijjar. However, the Canadian police administration did not share any evidence suggesting India's involvement in the killing of the Khaliatani leader.

Jagmeet's party backs the Liberal minority government led by Trudeau in exchange for support on some key bills.

After the Canadian Police announced the arrest of three alleged accused in the killing of Hardep Nijjar, Jagmeet renewed his claim of an Indian hand in the incident.

"The Indian government hired assassins to murder a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil - at a place of worship. Today 3 arrests were made. Let me be clear - any Indian agent or state actor that ordered, planned or carried out this murder must be exposed and met with the full force of Canadian law. For Canada, democracy and free speech - there must be Justice for Hardeep Singh Nijjar," Jagmeet posted from his X handle.

In 2023, the Canadian PM alleged an Indian hand in the killing, a claim that was vehemently denied by India which called it 'absurd and motivated'. The Canadian Police have also not given any evidence linking India to the killing.

Earlier, on Friday, Canadian police released photographs of all three persons arrested in the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year amid an ongoing probe into alleged connections of the Indian government.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in a statement named the three men, all Indian nationals, as Karanpreet Singh, 28, Kamalpreet Singh, 22 and Karan Brar, 22 and released their photographs. The trio were arrested in Edmonton City in Alberta.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) of Surrey, RCMP on Friday (local time) said that on the morning of May 3, IHIT investigators, with the assistance of members from the British Columbia and Alberta RCMP and the Edmonton Police Service, arrested the three men for the June 2023 killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey.

The trio have now been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the homicide, according to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police press release. Along with photographs of the three accused, the Canadian police have also released the photographs of the car believed to have been used by the suspects in the time leading up to the homicide, in and around the Surrey area.

Addressing reporters at a news conference on Friday, RCMP Assistant Commissioner David Teboul, who leads the Federal Policing Program in the Pacific Region, emphasised the active nature of the investigation into Nijjar's murder.

"Three suspects have been arrested and charged for their alleged involvement in the killing of Nijjar... We are not able to make any comments on the nature of the evidence... Nor can we speak behind the motive of the murder of Nijjar... However, I will say this matter is very much under active investigation," he said.

"There are separate and distinct investigations ongoing into these matters, certainly not limited to the involvement of the people arrested today, and these efforts include investigating connections to the government of India," Teboul also said.

India and Canada are dealing with an unprecedented diplomatic crisis, after the Canadian Prime Minister accused agents of the Indian government of killing Canadian Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023. However, India has dismissed the accusations as "absurd" and "motivated."

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