A timeline of events in the Jaspal Atwal affair
March 08, 2018 - 12:59 PM
OTTAWA - Controversy has swirled since a man who was convicted of trying to kill an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 showed up at a reception for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in India last month. Here is a timeline of events in the Jaspal Atwal affair:
Feb. 21: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's efforts to reassure Indian political leaders that his government repudiates violent Sikh extremism suffers an embarrassing setback with the revelation that Atwal — a Canadian Sikh convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 — has been invited to attend events with the prime minister during Trudeau's visit to India. A photo emerges of Atwal posing with Trudeau's wife at a reception in Mumbai.
Feb. 22: An invitation for Atwal to a reception in New Delhi is rescinded by the Prime Minister's Office.
Feb. 23: A senior Canadian official with knowledge of security issues says Canadian authorities believe it was no accident that Atwal was suddenly allowed into India and was able to make his way onto the guest list for two receptions with Trudeau. The official, speaking to a briefing arranged by the PMO on the condition of anonymity, says the suggestion has been made that Atwal's presence was arranged by factions within the Indian government who refuse to believe there is no risk posed to a united India by Sikh separatists living abroad.
Feb. 24: Trudeau travels back to Canada.
Feb. 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. The PMO says there is no merit to Atwal's assertions.
Feb. 26: A Conservative bid for an emergency meeting on the Atwal affair fizzles as the chairman of the House of Commons committee on national security says Tory MP Pierre Paul-Hus did not receive the required notices of support from at least four MPs to initiate an emergency meeting.
Feb. 27: Trudeau stands by the senior government official who suggested factions within the Indian government were involved in sabotaging the prime minister's visit to India. He says when a top diplomat and security official says something "it's because they know it to be true."
Feb. 28: India's Ministry of External Affairs issues a statement saying the Indian government had no role in Atwal being invited.
March 1: Liberal MPs on the national security committee thwart a Conservative bid to summon the government's national security adviser over the Atwal affair.
March 8: Atwal tells a news conference he contacted Liberal MP Randeep Sarai to see if there was a chance for him to attend a reception with Trudeau while he was in India. Sarai had previously taken responsibility for the invitation. Atwal's lawyer, Rishi Gill, says his client was never in contact with the Indian government to act on its behalf.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2018