Justin Trudeau says he stands by official who suggested Indian factions sabotaged trip

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is standing by a senior government official who suggested factions within the Indian government were involved in sabotaging the prime minister’s visit to India last week.

During his first question period since arriving back in Canada, opposition MPs grilled the prime minister Tuesday about invitations issued to Jaspal Atwal — a B.C. Sikh convicted of attempting to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 — to attend two events with the prime minister in India.

In a background briefing arranged by the Prime Minister’s Office, a government official last week suggested that Atwal’s presence was arranged by factions within the Indian government who want to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi from getting too cosy with a foreign government they believe is not committed to a united India. Vancouver Sun Reported.

Trudeau’s office says Atwal’s invitation to a party in New Delhi was revoked as soon as his name was discovered on the guest list. However, Atwal showed up at a reception earlier in the week in Mumbai and was photographed with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the prime minister’s wife.

British Columbia MP Randeep Sarai, one of several Liberal MPs in India with Trudeau, has taken responsibility for inviting Atwal and acknowledged he should have used better judgment. Trudeau said he planned to meet with Sarai later on Tuesday.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who was also photographed with Atwal in Mumbai, said he had no idea who Atwal was and simply posed for a picture when asked.

“(It) doesn’t help to be speculating on these kind of things,” Sohi said.

Courtesy : http://vancouversun.com

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