Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Jama Masjid Mosque in New Delhi, India on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement Wednesday stating the Indian government had no role in an attempted murderer being invited to a pair of events Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended during his visit to India last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

India denies role in Atwal controversy; ‘baseless,’ says official

India’s Ministry of External Affairs states the Indian government had no role in an attempted murderer being invited

India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement Wednesday stating the Indian government had no role in an attempted murderer being invited to a pair of events Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended during his visit to India last week.

Jaspal Atwal — a B.C. Sikh convicted of trying to kill an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 — attended a reception in Mumbai but Trudeau’s office said a later invitation to a party in New Delhi was revoked as soon as his name was spotted on the guest list.

In a background briefing arranged by the Prime Minister’s Office, a government official has suggested Atwal’s presence was arranged by factions within the Indian government who want to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi from getting too cosy with a foreign government they believe is not committed to a united India.

Related: Atwal fiasco dogs Trudeau; PM pledges a ‘conversation’ with MP responsible

But the official spokesman for the Indian ministry said Modi’s government had nothing to do with invitations issued to Atwal.

“Let me categorically state that the Government of India, including the security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at the event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in Mumbai or the invitation issued to him for the Canadian High Commissioner’s reception in New Delhi,” said Raveesh Kumar in a brief statement posted on the ministry website.

“Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable,” he said.

Conservatives have identified the Canadian official as Trudeau’s national security adviser, Daniel Jean, whom Trudeau defended Tuesday as a member of the professional, non-partisan public service.

But Trudeau nevertheless accepted the offer of Liberal backbencher Randeep Sarai, who’s taken responsibility for inviting Atwal to events with the prime minister in India, to resign as the chair of the party’s Pacific caucus.

“I want to again apologize for my role in recent unfortunate events,” Sarai said in a statement, adding that he’ll “be exercising better judgment” in future.

Related: Atwal says he bowed out of event to save Trudeau embarrassment

Atwal, a one-time member of a Sikh separatist group that is banned in Canada and India as a terrorist organization, was convicted of attempting to kill Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu on Vancouver Island in 1986.

He was also charged, but not convicted, in connection with a 1985 attack on Ujjal Dosanjh, a staunch opponent of the Sikh separatist movement, who later became B.C. premier and a federal Liberal cabinet minister.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Regional district changes decision on vote results of 3L amendment request

Amendment request was defeated by board Tuesday; ruling overturned by staff Wednesday

Riverfront proposal in Comox Valley remains on hold

Directors consider application a standard amendment

MusicFest weekend in the Comox Valley ‘fantastic’

With clear skies and warm temperatures bathing the crowd at the Comox… Continue reading

Island Health announces addition of 38 beds for seniors care in the Comox Valley

17 beds at Comox Valley hospital; 21 beds at St. Joe’s

VIDEO: North Island Hospital heliport flight testing

Island Health, in conjunction with Helijet, tested the heliports Tuesday as part… Continue reading

Comox Valley soccer camp growing

Annual camp includes younger kids

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Cumberland businesses on board with potential single-use plastic ban

Mayor Leslie Baird heartened by support for the initiative

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read