India vs Canada, Joly tries to put out fires. Surrey, Modi’s pic associated to alleged killers’ photos

TORONTO – “Connections with the Indian government? The RCMP is investigating” …she is more diplomatic than her boss, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly. After the “outbursts” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who immediately linked the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar – a member of the Sikh separatists – to the government of India, Minister Joly today “threw water on the fire”, stating that the RCMP are investigating and it is not possible to say anything, at least for the moment. 

In any case, Joly added, these situations must be addressed behind closed doors and not publicly in the newspapers. Diplomacy, in short. And then: Canada is a country that defends its citizens and if a murder is committed within its borders, it has the duty to investigate and shed full light, whoever the perpetrators and victims are… that’s Joly-thought’s synthesis.

Her statements come after difficult days, when relations between India and Canada have increasingly deteriorated following the arrest of three Indian citizens in Edmonton, accused of killing Nijjar, a leading member of the Sikh separatists who are calling for the Khalistan independence in India: movementists considered terrorists by the government of India.

The federal government led by Justin Trudeau (supported by a Sikh leader, Jagmeet Singh of the NDP) has a completely different idea and since the days following Najjir’s murder, when nothing was yet known (the crime dates back to the last year, the arrests occurred a few days ago), had pointed the finger at the Indian government.

Today an official public speech by Indian High Commissioner in Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, was scheduled at the Council on Foreign Relations in Montreal, precisely on the topic of current and future relations between India and Canada (at the time of writing, the contents of his speech are not yet known).

And also today, the three Indian citizens accused of killing Nijjar appeared by video in the Surrey Court in British Columbia, with dozens of members of the Sikh community inside and outside the hearing. The protesters, outside the courthouse in Surrey, carried signs in honor of Nijjar and waved the movement’s blue and yellow flags.

Furthermore, they displayed a placard with the photo of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, next to the pics of the alleged killers arrested in Canada, namely Karan Brar, Karanpreet Singh and Kamalpreet Singh.

The three therefore appeared in Court via video and briefly answered the first questions. Brar and Karanpreet have agreed through their lawyers to appear before the Surrey Court on May 21, while the Court itself is yet to decide on a new date for Kamalpreet as she seeks legal representation.

All three men, arrested Friday in Edmonton, are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in Nijjar’s killing last June. Nijjar, who was the president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, was shot dead in his pickup truck as he left the temple’s parking lot last June. He was a key organizer of unofficial referendums for an independent Sikh state in India and was therefore considered a terrorist by the Indian government.

In the photo, Sikhs protest in front of the Surrey courthouse (screenshot from a video on Twitter X – @GurpreetSSahota)