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Khalistani Terrorist Attending Justin Trudeau’s Mumbai Event Snowballs, Canadian PM Cancels Dinner Invite

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4:14 pm 22 Feb, 2018

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s week-long trip to India isn’t going exactly as well as he might have hoped. He was received by Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Many see this gesture as the BJP government’s “snub” to Trudeau due to his stance on the Khalistan movement for vote-bank politics. In all the previous instances, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke protocol to receive world leaders. He received his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu at the airport just last month and in September of last year, he welcomed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe at the airport.

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Canada has one of the highest Sikh population outside India, with estimates putting the figure to be around 5 lakh. It’s no wonder then that Justin Trudeau made it a point to visit Amritsar and the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, the Golden Temple. The Canadian PM had earlier said he has more Sikhs in his cabinet than PM Modi has. The prosperous Sikh community in Canada is a prominent vote bank and fundraising source for Canadian politicians.

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However, the current visit by Trudeau landed in controversy after a Khalistani terrorist was invited to two official events for the Canadian PM in Mumbai and Delhi. Jaspal Atwal was found guilty of trying to kill a Punjab minister (Malkiat Singh Sidhu) visiting Canada in 1986. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Atwal was photographed with the Canadian PM’s wife in an event in Mumbai on February 20. He was also photographed with Infrastructure minister Amarjeet Sohi and Brampton South Liberal MP Sonia Sidhu.

 

Atwal is a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation, a militant group fighting for Khalistan that was banned in Canada and deemed a terrorist organisation in the US, UK and India as well.

Canadian journalist and columnist Candice Malcom wrote on Twitter that he was part of Trudeau’s entourage to India. She wrote:

Amid all this, it is not yet clear how Atwal got an Indian Visa and why he was cleared to attend official events.

After seeing the controversy getting snowballed, the invitation to Atwal was cancelled.

“We have rescinded Jaspal Atwal’s invitation (for dinner reception with Canadian PM #JustinTrudeau in Delhi). We do not comment on matters relating to the PM’s security,” the Canadian High Commission said.

Twitterati too commented on this:

Former Liberal cabinet minister and British Columbia premier Ujjal Dosanjh said the government should have done its due diligence in looking into Atwal’s history, “especially when Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi had already spoken to Trudeau about his concerns over Canadian Khalistanis”.

Many in India, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, have accused the Canadian government of a soft approach to Sikh separatists and supporters of a separate Khalistan state. The Punjab CM said he had raised the “Khalistan issue” with Mr Trudeau and had been assured that Canada does not support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere.

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