Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s visit to his native India this week has run into controversy after one of the country’s political leaders accused him of being a Sikh nationalist.
Amarinder Singh, the top elected official in India’s Punjab province, where Sajjan was born, made the explosive accusation in an interview on Indian TV in advance of Sajjan’s trip.
In the interview, Singh expressed anger over not being allowed to speak at political rallies in Canada last year before calling Sajjan and the other Sikh members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet “Khalistanis.”
“I’m not going to meet him,” Singh said. “There are five ministers who are Khalistanis and I am not interested in meeting any Khalistanis.”
Sajjan’s spokeswoman, Renee Filiatrault, refused to be drawn into a war of words with Singh on Tuesday, saying the defence minister’s trip was intended to strengthen ties between Canada and India.