Hardeep Singh Nijjar

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Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Hardeep Singh Nijjar stands outside of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, B.C. on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar in 2019.
Born 1978 (age 45–46)
Died Surrey, British Columbia
Nationality Canadian
Occupation plumber
Known for may have been the victim of a political assassination

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a Canadian of Sikh heritage who was shot and killed by gunmen, outside his temple, in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18, 2023.[1][2][3]

Life in Canada

Nijjar had been an advocate for the secession of an independent Khalistan from India's Punjab province.[4] He was the President of the temple where he was shot.

The National Post reported Nijjar came to Canada in 1997.[4] They reported that, because he had travelled to Canada on a false passport his claim for refugee status was rejected. They reported that, following this setback he married a Canadian woman, who initiated the steps to sponsor his citizenship. The National Post noted that while Trudeau called Nijjar a Canadian citizen, their own research suggested his wife's sponsorship of his citizenship was also turned down.

One activity where Nijjar played a significant role was an effort to poll individuals from the Sikh diaspora -- ie Sikhs who no longer lived in India -- as to whether they supported the secession of an independent Khalistan.[4]

Indian officials had named Nijjar as a suspected terrorist.[5]

Nijjar had told colleagues from the World Sikh Organization of Canada that he had been receiving death threats.[5] They said several other Sikhs living in Canada had received similar death threats. When it reported his death, on June 19, 2023, the Globe and Mail said Canadian security officials, from CSIS, had warned him they thought his life was at risk.[1]

International repercussions over his killing

Following vociferous criticism from Indian commentators that his government was turning a blind eye to Sikh extremists advocating terrorism in India, from within Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed out that the individuals the Indian government wanted arrested had not violated Canadian laws.

On Monday, September 18, 2023, Trudeau informed the Canadian House of Commons there was 'credible evidence' that Nijjar had been shot by unauthorized Indian officials operating in Canada.[6]

"Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.[6]
In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the Government of India to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter. I also expect it to reiterate that its position on extra-judicial operations in another country is clearly and unequivocally in line with international law."[6]

Trudeau told his House of Commons colleagues that Nijjar's assassination had frightened many law-abiding Canadians.[3]

Melanie Joly, Canada's Foreign Minister, subsequently expelled Pavan Kumar Rai, diplomat she said was from RAW, who she called "the head' of Indian intelligence in Canada."[2][3][7]

Related assassination allegations

On November 29, 2023, the USA extradited Nikhil Gupta, an Indian charged with being hired to orchestrate the assassination of another Sikh, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a resident of the USA.[8] According to the allegations against Gupta, the assassination plots against Nijjar and Pannum were linked, and other assassination plots were in the works.[9]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Nancy MacDonald, Colin Freeze, Jane Skryypnek (2023-06-19). "Sikh leader killed outside Surrey, B.C., temple warned by CSIS he was in danger". Globe and Mail (Surrey British Columbia). Archived from the original on 2023-07-05. https://web.archive.org/web/20230705052414/https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-sikh-leader-killed-outside-surrey-bc-temple-warned-by-csis-he-was-in/. Retrieved 2023-09-18. "Ms. Joly told reporters said she had already expelled from Canada a 'top Indian diplomat,' Pavan Kumar Rai, Canadian head of New Delhi’s Research and Analysis Wing – the Indian foreign intelligence agency," 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert Fife, Steven Chase (2023-09-18). "Trudeau says intelligence shows India was behind slaying of Sikh leader in Surrey, B.C.". Globe and Mail (Ottawa). https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canadian-authorities-have-intelligence-that-india-was-behind-slaying/. Retrieved 2023-09-18. "Ms. Joly told reporters said she had already expelled from Canada a 'top Indian diplomat,' Pavan Kumar Rai, Canadian head of New Delhi’s Research and Analysis Wing – the Indian foreign intelligence agency," 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ian Austen, Vjosa Isai (2023-09-18). "Justin Trudeau Accuses India in a Killing on Canadian Soil". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/18/world/canada/canada-india-sikh-killing.html?unlocked_article_code=mjqJhYvMAu4WpkNn9TquzUuCSEeMybnqqxKyNxdphqaf9Y4Hkj_ITij0gH5L229l6xEr-kxtRjfYc10-0iaFtsqBOE43e5gJnSSIMOAw5QrjvSUvyXlVdumwvrwPYF--kuOThFhEZiQlVCQU5_726WZHrpBHrN4yKqG7kwEKlYs2xIGIHq58INjMHI-GCWjLyfCkDNxVcoY72QCiIlZABf0AlsmpSnmq5xwFVfRZ3g8lDsrn8LDQHSMT4s0v5SJFpgZoTQRwGYKTdBryLz37Q_40hcLkckCxoc1GfKxKzcbJ3Wb4GcejzvQO5SOYx6frDXCdUIYYrtdHhO58FBdUti1olpJjHj0S&smid=em-share. Retrieved 2023-09-18. "Mélanie Joly, the foreign minister, later announced that Canada had expelled an Indian diplomat whom she described as 'the head' of Indian intelligence in Canada." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "What we know about the Sikh man India allegedly killed on Canadian soil". National Post. 2023-09-18. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/hardeep-singh-nijjar-india-canada. Retrieved 2023-09-18. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 John Paul Tasker (2023-09-18). "Trudeau accuses India's government of involvement in killing of Canadian Sikh leader". CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-indian-government-nijjar-1.6970498. Retrieved 2023-09-18. "Nijjar, a supporter of a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistani state, had been branded by the Indian government as a 'terrorist' and accused of leading a militant separatist group — something his supporters have denied." 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Tom Yun (2023-09-18). "Trudeau says 'credible allegations' Indian government involved in slaying of Sikh leader in B.C., expels 'key diplomat'". CTV News. https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trudeau-says-credible-allegations-indian-government-involved-in-slaying-of-sikh-leader-in-b-c-expels-key-diplomat-1.6566740. Retrieved 2023-09-18. "'Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar,' Trudeau said, addressing the House of Commons about an 'extremely serious matter,' after informing the opposition party leaders." 
  7. "Canada investigating possible link between India, killing of Sikh activist". Al Jazeera. 2023-09-18. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/18/canada-investigating-possible-link-between-india-killing-of-sikh-activist. Retrieved 2023-09-18. "Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said later on Monday that the government had expelled an Indian diplomat – the head of India’s external intelligence agency, known as RAW, in Canada – over the allegations." 
  8. Hannah Rabinowitz, Yong Xiong, Evan Perez (2023-11-29). "Prosecutors charge Indian man in attempted murder-for-hire plot against Sikh activist on US soil". CNN. Archived from the original on 2023-11-30. https://web.archive.org/web/20231130022420/https://www.cnn.com/2023/11/29/politics/us-prosecutors-charge-indian-man-with-attempted-murder-for-hire-plot-against-sikh-activist-on-us-soil/index.html. Retrieved 2023-11-29. "Nijjar and Pannun were associates, US prosecutors say, as they were both leaders of the Sikh separatist movement. Just one day after Nijjar was killed, Gupta allegedly told a supposed hitman that Nijjar 'was also the target' and 'we have so many targets.'" 
  9. Shubhajit Roy (2023-11-23). "US thwarted plot to kill Khalistan separatist Pannun, warned India, says report". Indian Express (New Delhi). Archived from the original on 2023-11-22. https://web.archive.org/web/20231122201625/https://indianexpress.com/article/india/us-foiled-plot-to-kill-khalistani-separatist-gurpatwant-singh-pannun-in-america-report-9037972/. Retrieved 2023-11-29. "According to the FT report, the US, Canada and allies shared details – the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are part of the intelligence-sharing network 'Five Eyes' – and the Nijjar killing and the Pannun assassination plot sparked concerns 'about a possible pattern of behaviour' on Delhi’s part." 

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