Amid Khalistan Controversy, Sikh Separatist Invited to Dine with Justin Trudeau
New Delhi: Amid reports that Justin Trudeau is being given the “cold shoulder” in India, the Canadian Prime Minister was apparently set to have dinner with a former member of a banned Sikh separatist group in Delhi. The invite, however, has been rescinded.
Jaspal Atwal, a convicted former member of a Sikh separatist group, was invited to dine with Trudeau by Canada’s High Commissioner to India, a report in CBC said.
A PMO spokesperson, when asked on the invite, said that it was being cancelled. Confirming the move, Canadian High Commission also said, "We have rescinded Jaspal Atwal’s invitation (for dinner reception with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in Delhi). We do not comment on matters relating to the PM's security."
Atwal was seen with Trudeau’s wife Sophie and Liberal cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Atwal at Trudeau’s event could have led to trouble for Canadian PM amid claims of the PM being snubbed due to his alleged acceptance of Sikh separatist groups. The Canadian PM has tried time and again to assure India that he had no such inclination towards the groups.
Atwal was convicted of cabinet minister Malkait Singh Sidhu's murder in 1986 on Vancouver Island. During the time of the crime he was a member of the International Sikh Federation which has been banned in several countries, including India and Canada, as a terrorist organization. He was one of the four men who shot at Sidhu’s car.
This is not the only run-in that Atwal has had with the law. He has been convicted in an automobile case and was also charged with a brutal attack on Ujjal Dosanjh, who was a stark critic of the Sikh movement.