Feb. 22 (UPI) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said he rescinded a dinner invitation to Jaspal Atwal after facing backlash over his plans to meet the alleged Sikh extremist on his trip to India.
During Justin Trudeau’s first state visit to India, Atwal, a Canadian citizen of Indian ethnicity, appeared in photographs next to the prime minister’s wife, Sophie Trudeau, and a Canadian Cabinet minister.
Atwal was convicted and later acquitted of attempting to assassinate Indian minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in 1986 and has been accused of belonging to the International Sikh Youth Federation, which is banned in India.
Atwal had been invited to a dinner for the prime minister hosted by Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel in Delhi.
After uproar in India over the photographs, Justin Trudeau said Atwal would no longer attend the dinner.
“Obviously, we take this extremely seriously. He should never have received an invitation. As soon as we received the information we rescinded it, a member of Parliament had included this individual,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister’s office said Atwal did not travel to India as part of the government delegation.
“As is the case with international trips, individuals sometimes travel on their own to the location of the visit,” his office said.