On Nijjar killing probe, Indian envoy's sharp response to Canada's allegation
Sanjay Kumar Verma told CTV News Channel that India was ready to look into anything “specific and relevant” evidence to back Justin Trudeau's allegations.
Indian high commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma has once again urged Canada to release evidence to back up its allegation in connection with the killing of pro-Khalistan militant Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India and Canada saw a massive diplomatic row over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's accusation of possible Indian government involvement in the murder of Nijjar earlier this year. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
In what appears to be his first TV interview since Canada made the stunning allegations, Sanjay Kumar Verma told CTV News Channel that India was ready to look into anything “specific and relevant” evidence to back Justin Trudeau's allegations.
Why is India not cooperating in investigation?
On being asked why “why was India not cooperating” in the investigation after Trudeau's allegations, Verma replied, “There are two points. One is that even before the investigation being completed, India was convicted. Is that a rule of law?”
In the interview – the full conversation will be aired on Sunday, Verma was asked “how was India convicted” as it was an allegation raised by the Canadian government.
“Because India was asked to cooperate and if you look at the typical terminology, when someone asks to cooperate, which means you are already convicted and you better cooperate. We took it in very different interpretations, but we always said that if there is anything specific and relevant and communicated to us, we will look into it,” the high commissioner replied.
Earlier this month, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Verma reiterated that neither Canada nor its allies have shown concrete evidence related to Nijjar's killing. "There is no specific or relevant information provided in this case for us to assist them in the investigation," Verma told the Canadian daily.
Justin Trudeau's allegation against India over Nijjar killing
On September 18, Trudeau told the House of Commons that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.
In the immediate aftermath, both countries expelled each other's diplomats. India also suspended its visa services to Canada initially, but relaxed them for a select group a month later. On Wednesday, India resumed issuing electronic visas for Canadian nationals.
Verma, denying India's role in the case, suggested that the probe into the killing by the Canadian Police had been “damaged” by Trudeau's public statements.
Sanjay Kumar Verma demands evidence
“Where is the evidence? Where is the conclusion of the investigation? I would go a step further and say now the investigation has already been tainted. A direction has come from someone at a high level to say India or Indian agents are behind it,” Verma was quoted as saying.
Verma also pointed out that any conversations between diplomats are “protected” and cannot be used as evidence in court nor can they be released publicly.
"You are talking about illegal wiretaps and talking about evidence. Conversations between two diplomats are secure by all international law," he said. "Show me how you captured these conversations. Show me that someone did not mimic the voice."
The Indian envoy said both sides need to ensure any disputes are dealt with professionally through communication and dialogue.
He, however, also added that India expected Canada to "rein in Khalistan supporters".
"Don't allow your soil to be used by a group of Canadian citizens who want to dismember India. Who wants to challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India," he said. "There must be some rules, some law in place."
Verma also highlighted that India made 26 requests to Ottawa over the past five or six years to extradite people from Canada to India, but said that New Delhi is awaiting any action.
The Indian envoy, who has been given Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) security due to threats, said that he is concerned about his safety.
"I am concerned about my safety and security. I am concerned about the safety and security of my consul generals. God forbid if something happens," he told the newspaper.
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