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Investigation Ongoing, Not Limited To Three People: Canada PM Trudeau On Arrests Linked To Nijjar killing

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Toronto: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated on Sunday that the investigation into the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar extends beyond the arrest of three Indian nationals and is still ongoing. Trudeau emphasized the significance of the investigation, underlining that “Canada is a rule-of-law country.”

The Canadian Prime Minister’s comments follow the recent arrest of three Indian nationals suspected of involvement in the killing of Nijjar. Canadian authorities, amidst an ongoing investigation probing alleged connections to the Indian government, released photographs of all three individuals apprehended in relation to Nijjar’s killing last year.

Giving an address at the Sikh Foundation of Canada’s Centennial Gala event held at the Royal Ontario Museum on Sunday, Trudeau began by acknowledging the arrests made in connection to the case, emphasising that the investigation remains ongoing.

“I need to begin, somewhat awkwardly perhaps, but importantly, to acknowledge the arrests that were made in relation to the murder of Nijjar. As the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) stated, the investigation remains ongoing, as does a separate and distinct investigation, not limited to the involvement of the three people arrested yesterday,” he said.

He highlighted Canada’s status as a rule-of-law country with a robust and independent justice system. “This is important because Canada is a rule-of-law country with a strong and independent justice system, as well as a fundamental commitment to protecting all its citizens. I know that many Canadians, particularly members of the Sikh community, are feeling uneasy and perhaps even frightened right now,” Trudeau added.

Trudeau also reassured that every Canadian has the fundamental right to live safely and free from discrimination and violence. He urged them to “remain calm… remain steadfast in our commitment to our democratic principles and our system of justice. This is who we are and what we do as Canadians”.

A day ago, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Canada has been issuing visas to people with links to organised crime despite warnings from New Delhi. Jaishankar said some people in Canada, with ‘pro-Pakistan leanings’, have organised themselves politically and taken the shape of an influential political lobby. He said he saw reports that three people have been arrested, and, the Canadian police have conducted ‘some investigation’.

Nijjar, who was designated a terrorist by India’s National Investigation Agency in 2020, was shot and killed as he came out of a Gurdwara in Surrey in June last year. On June 18, 2023, the Surrey RCMP received a report of a shooting at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey. First responding members located a man, later identified as Hardeep Singh Nijjar, suffering from fatal gunshot wounds inside a vehicle.

Nijjar’s killing triggered diplomatic tensions between Canada and India after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of being involved in the killing — a claim that India has rejected as “absurd.”

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