Jaspal Atwal, along with three others, attempted to assassinate Malkiat Singh Sidhu, a Punjab minister, in 1986.
New Delhi: A convicted criminal and a member of an extremist Sikh militant group, Jaspal Atwal, was photographed with high-ranking members of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s delegation on Wednesday, sparking a fresh controversy during Trudeau’s visit to India.
Candice Malcolm at the Toronto Sun reported that Atwal is currently in India, and seems to be travelling with Trudeau. He was photographed Wednesday night at an event, and posed for pictures with Sophie Trudeau, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, and MP Sonia Sidhu.
Atwal has also been invited to a “dinner reception celebrating Canada-India ties” in Delhi on Thursday night. However, the invitation has reportedly been revoked.
In 1987, Atwal was convicted of attempting to assassinate Sikh politician and former Planning Minister of Punjab, Malkiat Singh Sidhu, who was visiting family in Canada at the time. The window of Sidhu’s car was broken, and he was shot five times in the arm and chest.
Atwal is also a former member of a Khalistani group, the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF). It was designated a terrorist organisation in 2003, and is banned in Canada.
This isn’t the first time that Atwal has been associated with Trudeau. Malcolm tweeted a photograph of Atwal with Trudeau at an unidentified event in Canada. Atwal was also invited to British Columbia budget day as a ‘guest of the government’ in 2012, a movie which officials protested.
This latest association comes at an already tense time. Like the Toronto Sun reports, “Atwal’s presence at an official function adds insult to injury for Trudeau’s Inda tour, already overshadowed by the cold shoulder the Indian government has given Canada’s PM.” The Indian government has been snubbing Justin Trudeau over his alleged sympathies for the Khalistani movement.