Punjab CM Amarinder Singh gives Canada PM Justin Trudeau list of 9 ‘radicals’
After weeks of speculation over whether or not they would meet, chief minister Amarinder Singh brought up the Khalistan issue with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday and handed him a list of Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in promoting radicalism in Punjab, according to officials familiar with the matter.
In a 40-minute meeting at an Amritsar hotel, Singh urged Trudeau to initiate stern action against “radical elements” and named nine Category ‘A’ Canada-based operatives allegedly involved in “target killings, hate crimes in Punjab, trying to radicalise the youth, and financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities”, a government official, who requested anonymity, said.
Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present at the meeting. Amarinder shook hands with Sajjan, whom he had refused to meet last year and had described as a “Khalistani sympathiser”.
Trudeau assured Singh that his country did not support “any separatist movement in India or elsewhere”, according to Raveen Thukral, the chief minister’s media advisor. The “categorical assurance” from Trudeau came after Singh sought his cooperation in cracking down on fringe elements, Thukral added.
“Really happy to receive categorical assurance from Canadian PM@Justin Trudeau that his country does not support any separatist movement. His words are a big relief to all of us here in India and we look forward to his government’s support in tackling fringe separatist elements,” Amarinder tweeted after the meeting.
Officials said that Turdeau referred to the separatist movement in the Canadian state of Quebec, and added that he had dealt with such threats all his life. Thukral said Trudeau added that he was fully aware of the dangers of violence, which he has always rejected, and would continue to do so.
The two leaders agreed on the importance of strengthening cooperation between across various sectors, with Singh expressing Punjab’s keenness to engage with Canada on higher education, scientific research, technology, innovation and skill development.