India ‘convicted’ even without probe into Nijjar murder, envoy to Canada claims
Sanjay Kumar Verma urged Canada to provide evidence to substantiate its allegations and emphasised that India would thoroughly investigate any ‘very specific and relevant’ information communicated to them.
(L-R) Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images) and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
THE Indian high commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, has expressed dissatisfaction with the premature “conviction” of New Delhi in connection with the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil in June.
He urged Ottawa to provide evidence to substantiate its allegations and emphasised that India would thoroughly investigate any “very specific and relevant” information communicated to them regarding the accusations made by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.
In an interview with Canada’s CTV news channel, Verma addressed Trudeau’s allegations of “possible Indian government’s involvement” in Nijjar’s killing. He questioned the adherence to the rule of law, pointing out that India was deemed guilty even before the investigation concluded. The envoy highlighted the unconventional interpretation that cooperation requests implied a prior conviction, emphasizing the need for specific and relevant information for India to consider.
“Because India was asked to cooperate and if you look at the typical criminal terminology, when someone asks to cooperate, it means you have already been convicted and you better cooperate,” Verma said when asked how India was “convicted”.
“So, we took it in a very different interpretation. But, we have always said that if there is anything very specific and relevant, and communicated to us. We will look into it,” he added.
The strained relationship between India and Canada escalated when Trudeau accused India of involvement in Nijjar’s murder by unidentified men outside a gurdwara.
India vehemently denied the allegations, labeling them as “absurd and motivated,” and reciprocated by expelling a Canadian diplomat.
Despite these accusations, Canada failed to present any evidence supporting its claims, according to India’s ministry of external affairs.
Earlier this week, India resumed electronic visa services for eligible Canadian citizens, signaling a thaw in diplomatic tensions. The decision followed a careful review of the security situation and a month after India resumed visa services in Canada for four categories. The move aims to restore normalcy in bilateral relations.