Ottawa, November 5: India's High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma reiterated New Delhi's stand on the diplomatic standoff with Canada, and urged Ottawa to release evidence backing up its allegation regarding the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The Indian envoy made the remarks in an interview with the Canadian platform, The Globe and Mail on Friday.
This came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the involvement of "agents of the Indian government" in the killing of Nijjar in June.
India had rejected the allegations as "absurd and motivated" and expelled a Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move over Canada's decision. Verma stressed that India has not been shown concrete evidence by Canada or its allies about India's alleged involvement in Nijjar's killing.
He further suggested that the continuing Canadian police probe into the killing had been "damaged" by PM Trudeau's public statements. "There is no specific or relevant information provided in this case for us to assist them in the investigation," Verma said. "Where is the evidence? Where is the conclusion of the investigation? I would go a step further and say now the investigation has already been tainted. A direction has come from someone at a high level to say India or Indian agents are behind it," The Globe and Mail quoted him as saying.
India resumed visa services in Canada for four categories after halting the services till "further notice" in September amid strained ties.
Last month, Canada pulled 41 diplomats from India, after New Delhi had conveyed its concerns over parity in diplomatic strength. Ottawa also halted its visa and consular services in Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bengaluru consulates. While outrightly denying India's role in the killing, Verma said any conversations between diplomats are "protected and can't be used as evidence" in court or publicly released.
"You are talking about illegal wiretaps and talking about evidence. Conversations between two diplomats are secure by all international law," he said. "Show me how you captured these conversations. Show me that someone did not mimic the voice." On being asked if Ottawa had requested that India extradite anyone who might have been involved in the Nijjar slaying, Verma said, "Those conversations are between the two governments."
The Indian envoy also noted that New Delhi has made 26 requests to Ottawa over the past five or six years to extradite people in Canada to India. "We are still waiting for action," he said.
The High Commissioner also said he has been given Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) security because of threats to him. "I feel that is hate speech and an incitement to violence," Verma said. He added, "I am concerned about my safety and security. I am concerned about the safety and security of my consul generals. God forbid if something happens."
On being asked what New Delhi felt was necessary to repair diplomatic relations, the Indian envoy said both sides need to ensure any disputes are dealt with "through professional communication and professional dialogue."
However, he added that India expects Canada to "rein in Khalistan supporters".
Referring to Nijjar's killing, he said "Let the investigation run its course," but added that Canada must also address the "core issue."
"Don't allow your soil to be used by a group of Canadian citizens who want to dismember India," he said. "Who want to challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India." "There must be some rules, some law in place," Verma added.
Meanwhile, a new poll conducted by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail suggests most Canadians want Canada to make public the evidence that led Trudeau to accuse India of being behind the killing of Nijjar. It found seven in 10 respondents agreed or somewhat agreed that Ottawa should unveil whatever proof it has. Two in 10 either disagreed or somewhat disagreed.