Trudeau's India trip runs into Khalistani hitch | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 23, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 23, 2018

Trudeau's India trip runs into Khalistani hitch

Canada rescinds invitation to Sikh extremist

Canadian officials yesterday admitted a Sikh extremist convicted of attempting to murder an Indian minister had been invited to dinner with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New Delhi, in the latest controversy to dog the premier's week-long visit to India.

Trudeau is visiting India and on Wednesday he travelled to Punjab where he told state leaders his country would not support anyone trying to reignite the movement for an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan.

A statement confirming Jaspal Atwal's invitation to yesterday's official event had been cancelled comes less than a day after Trudeau sought to quash perceptions his administration was soft on Sikh extremists.

The Canadian embassy told AFP it "has rescinded Mr. Atwal's invitation".

Atwal was convicted for a botched assassination attempt on an Indian minister in Canada in 1986, and was sentenced to 20 years by a Canadian court.

He reportedly attended an event in Mumbai on Tuesday, where he was photographed alongside Trudeau's wife Sophie Gregoire, according to Canada's public broadcaster CBC.

The embassy would not comment on whether Atwal was part of Trudeau's official delegation, although reports in Canada said Trudeau's office had denied this.

"We do not comment on matters relating to the PM's security," it said.

Atwal was a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation, an organisation outlawed in India and Canada, among other places, that seeks an independent Sikh state of Khalistan.

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