Ex-member of Sikh extremist group invited to Trudeau event

Trudeau says Sikh extremist should not have been invitation to reception

Trudeau's visit was further dragged into controversy when Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel invited convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal for a dinner which he was hosting for the visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his delegation on Thursday night.

Former Liberal cabinet minister and B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh said Ottawa 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.

"Now that they (Canadian High Commission) has withdrawn the invitation, let us not press the issue", said MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, making it amply clear that the Narendra Modi government was not willing to further vitiate the atmosphere ahead of Trudeau's formal reception in Delhi on Friday.

Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) Randeep S. Sarai took responsibility for inviting Atwal to Trudeau's reception dinner in New Delhi, which is scheduled to take place later today.

Following the row, the invitation to Atwal, who was convicted in Canada for the attempted assassination of a Punjab minister in 1986, was rescinded by the High Commission.

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Tensions over Canada's alleged support for Sikh separatism have dominated the Canadian prime minister's first official trip to India. "All matters that are of interest to us were discussed", he said when asked if Swaraj had brought up the subject in her talks. Atwal was formerly part of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), which seeks to establish Khalistan, an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region. "It helps innovation and makes for better-decision making", said the Prime Minister, whose cabinet has four Indian origin ministers, including Sikhs.

Atwal admitted that he was one of four men who ambushed and shot at Sidhu's vehicle. I think this is something which should be addressed by the Canadian side. On its part, the Ministry of External Affairs said it is investigating how Atwal got a visa to India even as Ministry of Home Affairs clarified he is not a blacklisted person and can move freely in the world and even in India. He was assassinated in India in 1991. The minister survived the attack and Mr Atwal was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In another tweet, Modi posted a 2015 photo of him pulling the ears of Trudeau's daughter Ella-Grace, and said he is waiting to meet the Canadian leader's three children again. Then there was the on again, off again, on again meeting between Trudeau and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh.

This Thursday, the head of the Canadian government, his wife Sophie and his three children visited in Delhi the Jama Masjid, the main mosque in the Indian capital.

Some inveterate optimists believe that these words are the markers of a new beginning, and that the proximate future will see abruptly stringent action against Khalistani formations and sympathisers in Canada.

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