Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has revealed that Canadian intelligence agents have uncovered “credible allegations” that the Indian government was involved in the assassination of a Sikh independence activist in Ontario earlier this summer. The slain activist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was associated with a radical movement that targeted Indian diplomats in Canada and the UK.
Trudeau addressed the Canadian Parliament, stating, “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.” He emphasized that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of sovereignty. Trudeau called on New Delhi to cooperate with Canada to investigate the matter thoroughly.
Nijjar, the 46-year-old head of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey, British Columbia, was shot at point-blank range on June 19 by two unidentified gunmen on the premises of the gurdwara. Nijjar was heading home to Surrey, located about 30km from Vancouver, at the time of the incident.
Nijjar was a member of the Khalistan movement, which advocates for the creation of a sovereign homeland for Sikhs in the north Indian state of Punjab. The movement was involved in a guerilla campaign against the Indian state during the 1970s and 1980s, and it notably claimed responsibility for the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, resulting in the deaths of all 329 people on board.
Following Nijjar’s assassination, members of the Khalistan movement staged protests in Canada and the UK, accusing the Indian government of involvement in the killing and calling for retaliatory attacks on Indian officials.
In response, the Indian government urged British and Canadian authorities to take action against the separatists. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar accused Canadian politicians of neglecting the threat posed by Khalistan activists in exchange for Sikh votes.
Trudeau’s claims have not yet been addressed by the Indian government. However, Trudeau informed lawmakers that he raised the allegations personally and directly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 summit in New Delhi earlier this month.
The assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil allegedly involving a foreign government has raised concerns about sovereignty and diplomatic relations between Canada and India. The investigation into Nijjar’s murder will likely further examine the alleged involvement of the Indian government and its potential impact on bilateral relations.
In the meantime, the global Sikh community and human rights organizations will monitor and follow the developments closely, as they seek justice for Hardeep Singh Nijjar and demand accountability for any involvement of foreign governments in acts of violence on foreign soil. Cooperation and transparency between Canada and India will be crucial in addressing the allegations and ensuring a thorough investigation.