Monday, 24 September, 2018

Sikh separatist Atwal apologises over Trudeau event

Atwal apologizes for embarrassing Canadian PM Trudeau in India Sikh separatist Atwal apologises over Trudeau event
Melinda Barton | 09 March, 2018, 16:30

He said: "I don't fault the press for the reporting, but I do want everyone to appreciate how hard it is for a person to become the centre of global media attention".

"I am sorry for the embarrassment this matter has caused to Canada, India, my community and family and friends".

Mr Atwal was convicted along with three others of shooting Indian minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu while he was in Vancouver on a personal visit in 1986.

Atwal said he has met and been photographed with New Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, and has travelled to India without restriction.

The invite sent to Atwal read: "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 Hounourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada".

"I have nothing but regret and remorse for my actions and the suffering I caused to the victim. No one at any point indicated there would be any issue", said Atwal.

Shockingly, pictures of Atwal along with the Canadian PM's wife, Sophie Trudeau as well as Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi at a function in Mumbai on 20 February have also gone viral on social media. Sarai had previously taken responsibility for the invitation.

Atwal, 62, who did not make any remarks beyond his prepared statement, told reporters that before he left for India earlier this winter, he reached out to Sarai "to see whether there was any possibility of attending the reception for the prime minister".

Given the context of absurdity that framed Atwal's appearance in Mumbai, it was little surprise then that it also enveloped the press conference at which the contrite 63-year-old read out a statement and then sat back in stony silence, as his lawyer, swivelling in his chair, responded to queries from the curious media, at one stage upbraiding journalists for their "obsession" with La Affair Atwal.

February 25: Atwal tells the Canadian Press he has a good relationship with Trudeau and bowed out of the reception in New Delhi because he wanted to save the prime minister further embarrassment.

A man at the centre of a controversy surrounding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent visit to India says he has renounced terrorism and no longer advocates for Sikh separatism.

Since his parole, Atwal said he has engaged broadly in politics on behalf of the Indo-Canadian community, and visited India numerous times including three visits over the past year, each time "with the full permission of the Indian government". "I assumed there would be no problems".

But despite Atwal's past, his lawyer Rishi Gill stressed that Atwal is no longer considered a security threat, and suggested it is "fear mongering" to continue labeling him a terrorist.

The invitation was later rescinded following the controversy.

He says when a top diplomat and security official says something "it's because they know it to be true".

"There was no, at any point, illegal entry on the part of Mr. Atwal to India".