The External Affairs Ministry on Sunday described as “fake and completely fabricated” a United States media report claiming that New Delhi had issued a “secret memo” to its diplomatic missions in April to take measures against Sikh separatists including Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

“There is no such memo,” ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a press statement. “This is part of a sustained disinformation campaign against India. The outlet in question is known for propagating fake narratives peddled by Pakistani intelligence. The posts of the authors confirm this linkage.”

He added: “Those who amplify such fake news only do so at the cost of their own credibility.”

On Sunday, The Intercept, a United States-based digital news organisation, reported that the Indian government had allegedly issued a written order to its consulates in April to deal with the perceived threat of Khalistan sympathisers in western nations. The purported order, listing several Sikh separatists including Nijjar, was signed by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, The Intercept report claimed.

Nijjar was killed by masked gunmen on June 18 near Vancouver, Canada.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the country’s Parliament that intelligence agencies were actively pursuing “credible allegations” tying agents of the Indian government to Nijjar’s killing.

Nijjar was a supporter of Khalistan, an independent Sikh nation sought by some groups. He was the head of the Khalistan Tiger Force, which is designated a terrorist outfit in India.

India rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd and motivated”. On September 26, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he had informed Canada that it was not New Delhi’s policy to engage in such acts.

On November 15, Jaishankar said that India has not ruled out an investigation into the killing of Nijjar and has asked Canada for evidence to support its allegations that New Delhi was involved in the murder.