Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, their daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien and Xavier pose in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra.Reuters

The Canadian high commissioner on Thursday, February 22, cancelled the invitation of a Khalistani terrorist who had been called to an official dinner reception of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The dinner is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on Thursday night.

The Canadian PM has also said that it should have never happened. 

"Obviously, we take this extremely seriously. He should never have received an invitation. As soon as we received the info we rescinded it, a member of Parliament had included this individual," said Trudeau

Who is Jaspal Atwal and why was the invitation retracted?

The invitation to Trudeau's dinner sparked a controversy, as Jaspal Atwal, a former Sikh separatist, was found guilty of attempting to murder Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in Vancouver in 1986.

Atwal had shot the minister twice and was sentenced to 20 years in jail. The judge, who had announced the quantum of punishment, had called it "an act of terrorism"

When the news of the invitation hit headlines, it did not go down well with India as he is not only a convicted terrorist but has also been active in Canadian politics at both the provincial and federal levels.

Moreover, India has always despised Canadian government's soft attitude towards Sikh separatists and supporters of a separate Khalistan state.

Atwal, who was a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), a key participant of the Khalistan movement, was also criticised by Ujjal Dosanjh, an Indo-Canadian politician in British Columbia.

Dosanjh, who is a vocal critic of the Khalistan movement and was also attacked by Atwal, said that he was flabbergasted on hearing that Trudeau had invited Atwal to a state dinner, Hindustan Times reported. 

"I'm left speechless. This speaks volumes about the kind of inroads Khalistanis have made into the Liberal Party of Canada and the echelons of power," said Dosanjh.

After the outrage, the Canadian high commissioner Nadir Patel rescinded the invitation.

"The high commission has rescinded Mr Atwal's invitation. We do not comment on matters relating to the PM's security," said the mission. However, it did not give out details. 

Atwal and Sophie Trudeau's image

A photograph of Atwal along with the Canadian PM's wife Sophie Trudeau and Canadian minister Amarjeet Sohi, which was taken on Tuesday during an event in Mumbai, has also been condemned.

It has given rise to an even bigger question as to how the Indian government gave Atwal a clearance to obtain an Indian visa and attend official events in the nation.

Trudeau's office has now issued a statement saying it will definitely look into the issue.

"This individual (Jaspal Atwal) should never have been invited to any event on the program, and his invitation has been rescinded. We are in the process of looking into how this occurred", ANI quoted Canada PMO as saying.

The Minitry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that they are also trying to ascertain as to how did he obtain the visa.

"There are two aspects to it, presence and visa. The Canadian side has already clarified that the invitation has been withdrawn. About the Visa, I don't know how it happened. We will ascertain information from our Commission," said Kumar.