Jaspal Atwal was found guilty of attempted murder in 1986 after shooting a Punjab state minister who was visiting Vancouver Island. Atwal lives in Canada, but travelled to India and attended a government function last night.— Candice Malcolm (@CandiceMalcolm) February 22, 2018
Here he is with Sophie Trudeau. pic.twitter.com/4vyJcTlJr1
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s delegation included a man charged with attempted murder of a former Indian minister.
Jaspal Atwal was convicted in 1987 for shooting an Indian cabinet minister, Malkiat Singh Sidhu, who was visiting family in Vancouver.
The convicted murderer was a member of the Indian Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), a designated Sikh terrorist organization which was banned in Canada in 2003.
Atwal was invited to an official dinner by the Canadian High commissioner to India, Nadir Patel.
“His Excellency Nadir Patel, High Commissioner for Canada to India, is pleased to invite Jaspal Atwal to a dinner reception celebrating Canada-India ties on the occasion of the visit of The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,” the invitation read.
Here is the official invitation sent to Jaspal Atwal, inviting him to join Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in India. Trudeau is denying his sympathies for Sikh extremists, while also wining and dining them. pic.twitter.com/NEhNIQ0PWA— Candice Malcolm (@CandiceMalcolm) February 22, 2018
Trudeau’s office was contacted regarding this shocking inclusion and was asked whether Atwal was a part of the official delegation, which seems to be affirmed, however the office worked on rescinding the invitation, according to CBC.
Sidhu was the minister of state in the Punjab state government at the time he was attacked. He was attending a relative’s wedding when Atwal, conspiring with four other men, ambushed his car and shot him five times. The minister miraculously survived the attack.
Atwal and his accomplices were arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, they did not serve jail time because CSIS investigation was based on an improperly obtained warrant. This wasn’t his only brush with law; in 2011, Atwal lost $28,000 in a decision in relation to car fraud.
In 2012, Atwal, who at the time held a prominent position in Surrey with the Liberal Party of Canada, was also criticized by former Liberal Party Premier Christy Clark for attending Budget Day in Victoria.
“He shouldn’t have been here. So, in the future, we’re going to have much more scrutiny,” said Clark at the time. “If I had recognized his name, he wouldn’t have been here.”
Atwal’s inclusion in the delegation may add fuel to the fire to what is already a controversial visit by the Canadian PM. Trudeau, for the most part, got snubbed by Modi, who did not welcome him at the airport; neither accompanied him to his home state of Gujarat.
The cold shoulder by the government is likely due to Trudeau’s lack of condemn for Sikh extremism. In 2017, he even attended a pro-Khalistan parade allegedly commemorating Sikh terrorists.
The Canadian Prime Minister attended an event in India, corroborating Atwal’s inclusion and conceding the mistake made by the official. He said “the individual in question should have never received an invitation and it has been rescinded.”
Trudeau is already facing heavy criticism for his lack of official meetings with the government of the country considered to be Canada’s biggest ally in Asia.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Adnan Abidi