Khalistan Separatist Atwal’s Invitation to Trudeau’s Dinner Nixed

Amidst the diplomatic cold-shoulder over Canadian PM Trudeau’s Khalistan issue, a convicted Sikh separatist, Jaspal Atwal, of an illegal Sikh separatist group was invited for a formal dinner with Trudeau, hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner on Thursday, 22 February in Delhi, CBC News reported.

Canada's High Commission to India, which extended the invite to Atwal for a formal dinner, has been rescinded after CBC News asked the Prime Minister's Office about it.

  Invite sent to Jaspal Atwal by the Canadian High Commission.   

Taking cognisance of the matter, Canadian High Commission revoked Atwal’s dinner invitation and Prime Minister Trudeau himself said, “Obviously, we take this extremely seriously. He should never have received an invitation. As soon as we received the info we rescinded it, a member of Parliament had included this individual.”

According to the CBC report, the convicted Khalistani separatist was photographed with Trudeau’s wife Sophie at an event in Mumbai on 20 February.

Canadian PM’s wife Sophie Trudeau seen with convicted Jaspal Atwal.
Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi along with Jaspal Atwal.   

We Are Trying to Find out How Atwal Got a Visa: MEA

Ministry of External Affairs said it is trying to fetch details from its mission on how Atwal got a visa. MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “There are two aspects to it –presence and Visa. The Canadian side has already clarified that the invitation has been withdrawn. About the Visa I don't know how it happened. We will ascertain information from our Commission.”

"Let us not presume things and decide how he managed to come. This is something which we are trying to find out. In due course, we will be able to come up with a reason that how he managed to come in India." - Raveesh Kumar, MEA SpokespersonWho is Jaspal Atwal?

Atwal was convicted in Canada for attempting the murder of the then-Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu on Vancouver Island in 1986, the report stated. Atwal admitted that he was one of four men who ambushed and shot at Sidhu's car. Atwal is reportedly a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation, a banned 'terrorist’ group in Canada, the UK, the US and India.

Also Read: Convicted Sikh Separatist Invited For Trudeau’s Formal Dinner

This is not the first time that Atwal been embroiled in violation of law and order. He was charged for brutally attacking Ujjal Dosanjh, a vocal critic of the Sikh movement in 1985, the CBC report mentioned. In a case of stealing, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia won a $28,000 judgment against Atwal over a stolen car ring involving Atwal's son, Vik.

Opposition Rakes up a Storm

Meanwhile, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah called out the Indian government for giving him visa in the first place.

Also Read: Amarinder Singh Raises ‘Khalistan’ Issue with Canada PM Trudeau

The incident comes after the Canadian PM met Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday, 21 February, and assured him that Canada did not support separatism in India or elsewhere as he pitched for greater cooperation.

The CM also handed PM Trudeau a list of nine Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in promoting radicalism as the ‘Khalistan’ issue featured prominently in the talks between the two leaders.

(With inputs from CBC News)

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