Convicted Khalistani terrorist on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's dinner guest-list

Sushma Swaraj to meet Canadian counterpart ahead of PM Modi Trudeau talks
Convicted Khalistani terrorist on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's dinner guest-list

23 February, 2018

Jaspal Atwal told Canada's Postmedia network that he did not plan to attend Thursday's dinner, which was being hosted by Canada's high commissioner, as he is in Mumbai on business. Canada's Supreme Court ruled that Atwal was part of a gang that falsely reported vehicles stolen, changed the registrations numbers and sold them to unwitting buyers.

Accompanied by celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, Punjab's Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Minister of State Hardeep Singh Puri, Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, and other Canadian officials, the Trudeaus attended the traditional langar and also performed kar seva at the Guru Ram Das Jee Langar hall.

Modi and Trudeau are scheduled to meet Friday in New Delhi at the tail end of his first visit as prime minister to India.

"Even if Trudeau was an Indian groom at his wedding reception he'd look ridiculously overdressed", said another.

He managed to get on the guest list thanks to Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai, who's since claimed responsibility for his actions and admitted he should have used better judgement.

But a statement from a largely unknown backbencher isn't quite enough when a controversy sideswipes an global trip.

Reacting to the controversy, Mr Trudeau said, "Obviously we take this situation extremely seriously".

"The individual in question never should have received an invitation and as soon as we found out we rescinded the invitation immediately", said Trudeau in a brief statement Thursday.

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Trudeau also said that he would hold the member of parliament who invited Atwal responsible for the mistake.

ALSO READ: Who is Jaspal Atwal? Sarai was visible at official events earlier in the week, but has not been seen since this news broke. The individual in question should have never received an invitation.

Trudeau, on his part, has reiterated his support for united India and assured that extremist groups in Canada won't be supported.

While the Canadians took the blame for the presence of Atwal in the country, the Indian government said enquiries were on to figure out how a man convicted of attacking an Indian minister got a visa. "You can't expect the PM to be in two places at the same time", said a senior Indian official.

The news is bad for Trudeau.

Atwal was previously on the MHA blacklist of Sikh extremists but his name was removed during a periodical review.

About 80,000 people are estimated to have died in the conflict, including the former Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguard after ordering Indian troops into Amritsar's Golden Temple, one of the most revered spiritual sites in Sikhism.

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