New Delhi: Clearing the government position over the invite to a Khalistani terrorist to a dinner reception in honour of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Canada on Thursday said that the “individual" was not part of the official delegation and it is “looking into how this happened".
Canada Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) also clarified that it did not invite him to the official dinner. “This individual (Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal) should never have been invited to any event on the program, and his invitation has been rescinded," ANI quoted Canada’s PMO as saying.
The PMO stressed that “As is the case with international trips, individuals sometimes travel on their own to the location of the visit."
Further restating the official stand on the issue, Canadian minister for science and sports Kirsty Duncan said: “This person of course should not have been invited. We are looking into how it happened."
Jaspal Atwal was convicted for trying to kill the then Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in Vancouver in 1986. Atwal’s invite to the official dinner reception of Trudeau has triggered a controversy over his involvement in a terror case.
During his meeting with Trudeau on Wednesday, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh handed him a list of nine terror suspects wanted by India for various crimes. Trudeau has assured him that Canada does not support any separatist movement and would not allow its soil for any anti-India activity.
Reacting to the Khalistani issue, being discussed by the two leaders, former Indian envoy to Canada Vishnu Prakash said that a small number of “Khalistani elements" control Gurudwaras abroad and they use the money given to them by the pious Sikhs to “spread radical agenda and spread hatred towards India".
“Both countries (India and Canada) share an important relationship. There is certainly a cloud on our relation due to Khalistan issue. Canada is the only country to provide platform to Khalistanis. That is a matter of concern," ANI quoted him as saying.