(Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday Canada was “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia in June.
Canada is home to an influential Sikh community and Indian leaders say there are some fringe groups there that are still sympathetic to the cause of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan, carved out of India. A Sikh insurgency that was suppressed in India in the 1990s killed some 30,000 people.
Here is what is known about the probe into the Canadian citizen’s murder:
* On the evening of June 18, Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) received a report of a shooting at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, a Sikh place of worship, in the city of Surrey in the British Columbia province.
* First responders located a man, later identified as 45-year old Hardeep Singh Nijjar, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds inside a vehicle. Nijjar succumbed to his injuries on scene, RCMP said.
* The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) took conduct of the investigation.
* Investigators said that two suspects, described as “heavier set males, wearing face coverings,” fled the scene on foot and likely had a vehicle waiting for them closeby from the murder scene. Authorities later said there was a third suspect as well. No arrests have been made.
* In July, investigators released information to the public of the believed route taken by the two suspects after the murder. Authorities later identified the vehicle which was waiting for the suspects as a Silver 2008 Toyota Camry.
* There were suspicions raised by local community members that there may have been foreign interference in the murder of the Sikh separatist leader.
* “We understand there is a lot of speculation regarding the motive of this homicide, but we are dedicated to learning the facts and letting the evidence lead our investigation,” Timothy Pierotti, an official with IHIT, said in the early stages of the probe.
* Trudeau said on Monday Canada had credible information linking Indian government agents to the murder. Trudeau did not directly accuse India of definitely being involved and Foreign Minister Melanie Joly later used more cautious language, saying “if proven true” the allegations would be unacceptable.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Michael Perry)