Hardeep Singh Nijjar
, the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and one of India’s most-wanted terrorists, was shot dead on June 18 by two unidentified gunmen outside a gurdwara in
in the western Canadian province of British Columbia.
Hailing from Bharsinghpur village in Punjab’s Jalandhar, Nijjar had been living in Surrey and was officially declared an ‘absconder’ by the National Investigation Agency (
). The 45-year-old fugitive also carried a substantial cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head.
He was designated a ‘terrorist’ under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in July 2020, leading to the attachment of his property in the country by the NIA in September 2020.
Canada accuses Indian govt agents of being involved in murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Furthermore, an Interpol Red Corner Notice was issued against him in 2016, reflecting the global community’s commitment to bringing him to justice.
, a prominent figure in the Khalistan movement, was organizing an unofficial referendum in India for an independent Sikh state at the time of this death. The authorities in India announced a cash reward last year for information leading to Nijjar’s arrest, accusing him of involvement in an alleged attack on a priest.
Even the local authorities in Surrey had previously placed Nijjar under temporary house arrest in 2018 due to suspicions of his involvement in terrorist activities, but he was subsequently released.
In the backdrop of the development, it’s essential to recognize the strong bonds between Canada and its Sikh population, which numbers over 770,000, accounting for approximately 2 percent of the country’s total population.
Earlier in the day, India characterised as “absurd and motivated” an accusation by Canada that it was involved in the murder of the separatist leader, urging the country instead to take legal action against anti-Indian elements operating from its soil.
The dispute deals a further blow to diplomatic ties, with New Delhi unhappy over Sikh separatist activity in Canada, and now threatens trade ties, with talks on a proposed trade deal frozen.
Canada was “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of Nijjar, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons on Monday. Canada also expelled India’s top intelligence agent in the country yesterday.