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minister in 1986 — attended a reception in Mumbai but Trudeau’s office said a later invitation to a party in New Delhi was revoked as soon as his name was spotted on the guest list.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

Body discovered in Port Alberni building

RCMP turn investigation over to BC Coroner’s office

Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

First Vancouver Island heat wave of the summer is here

Environment Canada issues a special weather statement as temperatures creep into the 30s

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Alberni Valley Vintage Tractor Club contributes to charity

Funds raised from hay sales go towards BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

North Island College gets $328,000 for forestry education funding

Announcement in Campbell River part of $1 million around B.C.

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughter’s death

Search for capsized fishers near Tofino enters fourth day

“There’s a lot of shock in the community in terms of how we could end up at this place.”

Most Read