On June 18, 2023, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot numerous times to death outside a Gurudwara in Surrey, Canada.
Nijjar moved to Canada in 1997 to pursue a job as a plumber. He was originally from the Jalandhar hamlet of Bhar Singh Pura. He had two boys, and was married. After moving to Canada, Nijjar maintained a long-standing affiliation with the Khalistani insurgency.
As the “mastermind” of the terrorist group Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), which is now outlawed, he held a key position. In addition, he was associated with the illegal separatist organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). He was labelled a terrorist by India in 2020. The 2007 explosion in Ludhiana, Punjab, which left six people dead and about 40 injured, was one of many accusations made against Nijjar. He was also connected to Rulda Singh, the president of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, being killed in Patiala in 2009. For information leading to Nijjar’s capture in connection with the murder of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar, Punjab, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) issued a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh in July of last year.
The NIA is also aggressively looking into recent assaults on Indian embassies in the US, UK, and Canada.
Is Canada a place of refuge for Khalistanis?
People usually assume that all NRI Sikhs favour Khalistan, which is a fairly common misconception. Yes, there are organisations that are active and netizens talk about it often.
As opposed to Canada, the previously mentioned Nijjar links would be subject to rigorous prosecution, in India.
The claims made by Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, against India in relation to the June death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a wanted Khalistani terrorist, sparked a tense discussion between the two countries.
On Tuesday, September 19, relations between the two nations took a severe hit when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed a senior Indian diplomat, citing reliable information connecting Indian operatives to the death of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Canada’s lower house of parliament, the House of Commons, heard Trudeau say on Monday that “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 reminded the members of parliament that it was unacceptable for a foreign government to be involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian territory. He claimed that it goes against the fundamental principles by which free, open, and democratic nations operate.
India’s prompt response
Given the rising tensions between India and Canada, India has recently expelled Canada’s foreign official.
The head of the Canadian government’s intelligence service in India is alleged to be the Canadian diplomat who was ordered to leave. The chief of Canadian intelligence in India, according to an article in HT, is a senior Canadian diplomat who was given the order to leave India just hours after Ottawa drove out an Indian diplomat.
Pavan Kumar Rai is the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Canada, according to public broadcaster CBC. The expulsion of a “top Indian diplomat” was announced by the office of Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly.
The claims made by Trudeau, on the other hand, have been branded as “absurd” and “motivated” by India. “Allegations of the Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated.” The Ministry of External Affairs stated in response to the expulsion of their diplomat. It said, “Similar allegations were made by the Canadian prime minister to our Prime Minister, and were completely rejected. We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law.”
The Canadian spy agency’s station chief in India, Olivier Sylvestere, suffered consequences by being expelled, according to the report.
According to the article, Sylvestere was working undercover in India.
He has been given five days by the government to depart from India.
According to a statement from India’s foreign ministry, the decision to remove the Canadian ambassador reflects the Indian government’s growing concern over the intrusion of Canadian diplomats in internal affairs and their participation in anti-India actions.
Please, also have a look into : India-Canada relations strained amidst allegations of diplomatic intrigue