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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Sikh activist whose killing has divided Canada and India? Categorical Instances

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh independence advocate whose killing two months in the past is on the heart of a widening breach between India and Canada, was known as a human rights activist by Sikh organizations and a terrorist by India’s authorities.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated Monday that his authorities was investigating “credible allegations” that Indian authorities brokers have been linked to the slaying on June 18 when Nijjar was gunned down outdoors a Sikh cultural heart in Surrey, British Columbia.

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India has denied any function within the killing, calling the allegations absurd.


Nijjar was a outstanding member of a motion to create an unbiased Sikh homeland often called Khalistan, and on the time of his dying was organizing an unofficial referendum among the many Sikh diaspora with the group Sikhs For Justice.

He additionally owned a plumbing enterprise and served as president of an area Sikh temple or gurdwara. In a 2016 interview with the Vancouver Solar he responded dismissively to stories in Indian media that he was suspected of main a terrorist cell.

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“That is rubbish — all of the allegations. I’m residing right here 20 years, proper? Take a look at my report. There may be nothing. I’m a tough employee. I personal my very own enterprise within the plumbing,” Nijjar advised the newspaper.

Following his dying, the World Sikh Group of Canada known as Nijjar an outspoken supporter of Khalistan who “typically led peaceable protests in opposition to the violation of human rights actively going down in India and in help of Khalistan.”

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Nijjar was a wished man in India, the place authorities labeled him a terrorist in 2020.

In 2016, Indian media reported that he was suspected of masterminding a bombing within the Sikh-majority state of Punjab and coaching terrorists in a small metropolis southeast of Vancouver. He denied the allegations.

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India additionally filed a prison case in opposition to Nijjar in 2020 for “conspiring to create an environment of concern and lawlessness, and inciting individuals to rise in insurrection in opposition to the Authorities of India” when farmers, many from Punjab, camped out on the perimeters of New Delhi to protest controversial agriculture legal guidelines.

Final yr, Indian authorities accused Nijjar of involvement in an alleged assault on a Hindu priest in India and introduced a reward of about $16,000 for data resulting in his arrest.


India has waged an at-times bloody battle in opposition to the Sikh independence motion for the reason that Eighties, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered a raid to seize armed separatists taking refuge in a significant Sikh temple.

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The raid killed lots of of individuals, and two of Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards assassinated her shortly after. In response, anti-Sikh riots befell throughout India wherein members of the minority have been dragged out of their properties and killed.

Extra just lately, the Hindu nationalist-led authorities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cracked down on each non-Hindu rights actions and dissidents.


Canadian police stated Nijjar was shot as he was leaving the automotive park of the Sikh temple the place he served as president in British Columbia. He suffered a number of gunshot wounds and died on the scene.

After the killing, a lawyer and spokesperson for Sikhs For Justice, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, stated Nijjar had been a goal of threats due to his activism. His killing was the second in two years of a outstanding member of the Sikh group in Canada.

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Pannun stated he had spoken to Nijjar by cellphone the day earlier than he was killed and that Nijjar had advised him that Canadian intelligence had warned him that his life was in danger.

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Practically per week after Nijjar’s slaying, about 200 protesters from Canada’s Sikh group gathered in entrance of the Indian Consulate in Vancouver to exhibit. Most of the protesters have been satisfied that Nijjar’s killing was linked to his requires an unbiased Sikh state.

“He was a loving man, a hard-working man, a household man,” stated Gurkeerat Singh, one of many protesters.

On Monday, Moninder Singh, a spokesperson for the British Columbia Sikh Gurdwara Council, advised Canada’s CTV that the wave of help for Nijjar seen after his dying was a sign of how he was seen in the neighborhood.

“It shook the group throughout the whole world, together with in Punjab,” Singh stated.

“The group is shattered. There are very, very excessive feelings,” Sukh Dhaliwal, a member of Parliament who represents Surrey, stated days after the killing in June.

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