Fireworks are set off over the Golden Temple in celebration of the Vaisakhi, a Sikh harvest festival, in Amritsar district of India's northern Punjab state, on April 14, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
NEW DELHI — India's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has rejected the existence of a "secret memo" targeting Sikh groups in Western countries.
His statement came on Sunday in response to a report by The Intercept claiming that the Indian government instructed its consulates in North America to launch a "sophisticated crackdown scheme" against Sikh diaspora organizations.
India flatly denied the allegations and described them as "absurd and motivated." The issue hit the diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Ottawa
Last month, the US Justice Department filed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate an American, who is also a Sikh expatriate leader identified by media as Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
India's foreign ministry said it has set up a high-level committee to look into the security concerns raised by the United States.
In September, Canada accused India of being linked to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh leader who was killed in Vancouver in June.
India flatly denied the allegations and described them as "absurd and motivated." The issue hit the diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Ottawa.
Canada withdrew its 41 diplomats and 42 accompanying dependents from India in October following a directive from India's foreign ministry to reduce its diplomatic presence in India.
India said it sought parity with Canada in terms of the diplomatic staff posted in each other's missions. It had threatened to remove the diplomatic immunity of the Canadian diplomats if they chose to stay in India.