Reacting to the controversy over the invitation to a Canada-based Khalistani activist at his event, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said it should never have happened. “Obviously, we take this extremely seriously. He should never have received an invitation. As soon as we received the info we resciended it, a member of Parliament had included this individual,” said Trudeau when asked about his response to the fresh row.
It was reported that the Canada-based Khalistani activist, who was convicted in the attempted murder of a Punjab Minister in 1986, was invited to two events organised for Trudeau, in Mumbai and in Delhi. After criticism, Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel cancelled the dinner invitation to Jaspal Atwal, a convicted Khalistani terrorist. “The High Commission has rescinded Mr. Atwal’s invitation.? We do not comment on matters relating to the PM’s security?,” the Canadian High Commission said.
Atwal was convicted for trying to kill the then Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in Vancouver in 1986. The cancellation comes at a time when Trudeau’s pro-Khalistan approach is being criticised by many including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who raised the issue with the Canadian prime minister during a meeting.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs said it is not clear how the Khalistani activist was given visa. “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 The Canadian side has already clarified that the invitation has been withdrawn.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,” said Raveesh Kumar, MEA Spokesperson.
He also said, “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.”