Who is Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Sikh leader Indian agents allegedly killed?

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As the House of Commons reconvened connected Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed Parliament that determination were “credible allegations” of a “potential link” betwixt “agents of the authorities of India” and the execution of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian national and Sikh leader.

As a consequence, an Indian diplomat was expelled from Canada.

The antheral astatine the centre of the diplomatic tempest was gunned down successful June this year, and the probe remains unfastened into his murder. On June 18, Nijjar, 45, was recovered suffering from aggregate gunshot wounds wrong a conveyance extracurricular the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara just earlier 8:30 p.m. connected June 18.

The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) initially sought 2 suspects described arsenic “heavier-set males wearing look coverings.” However, they aboriginal said the men were not acting alone.

On Monday, Trudeau confirmed that authorities were investigating links betwixt the execution and radical linked to the Indian government.

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Here is what we cognize truthful far.

Who is Hardeep Singh Nijjar?

Nijjar, who moved to Canada successful February 1997 to beryllium a plumber, was a cardinal fig successful the question for an autarkic Khalistan — a abstracted homeland for Sikhs successful the Indian subcontinent.

But for the Indian government, helium was wanted for allegedly being a “mastermind/active member” of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), which the Indian  authorities designates arsenic a violent group.

 'Singh blasts Modi authorities  implicit    allegations India agents killed B.C. Sikh leader'

5:12 Singh blasts Modi authorities implicit allegations India agents killed B.C. Sikh leader

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Nijjar’s person and chap Sikh nationalist, had told Global News successful June that Nijjar said that pack members had warned him Indian quality agents had enactment a bounty connected his head.

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The Canadian Security Intelligence Service besides told Nijjar they had accusation that helium was “under menace from nonrecreational assassins,” Pannun had said.

The 1980s and aboriginal 1990s successful India saw an equipped struggle betwixt the Indian authorities and Sikh separatists successful the Sikh-majority bluish authorities of Punjab. Amid a crackdown connected the insurgency, Nijjar’s member was arrested by constabulary successful India. In 1995, Nijjar himself was arrested.

He claimed successful a sworn affidavit to migration officials that helium was beaten and tortured for accusation astir his brother. He said helium secured a bribe, chopped his hairsbreadth abbreviated and escaped.

In 1997, Nijjar came to Canada, claiming helium had been beaten and tortured by Indian police. In 1998, his exile assertion was denied. According to his migration records, helium utilized a fraudulent passport that identified him arsenic “Ravi Sharma.”

“I cognize that my beingness would beryllium successful sedate information if I had to spell backmost to my country, India,” helium wrote successful his affidavit, dated June 9, 1998.

His exertion was rejected, and 11 days aboriginal Nijjar married a B.C. pistillate who sponsored him to immigrate arsenic her spouse.

On his exertion form, helium was asked whether helium was associated with a radical that utilized oregon advocated “armed conflict oregon unit to scope political, spiritual oregon societal objectives.”

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He said “no,” but migration officials considered it a matrimony of convenience and rejected Nijjar’s application. Nijjar appealed to the courts and mislaid successful 2001, but helium aboriginal identified himself arsenic a Canadian citizen.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada declined to remark to Global News at the clip of that report, citing privateness legislation.

Protesters chant extracurricular of the Consulate General of India bureau during a protestation for the caller shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar successful Vancouver connected Saturday, June 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns.

Nijjar ran a plumbing concern successful Surrey, B.C., and roseate to go a salient advocator for the instauration of Khalistan — a abstracted Sikh nation.

He travelled astir the satellite and called for a referendum connected Khalistan and called for anti-Sikh unit successful India to beryllium recognized arsenic “genocide.”

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In 2014, a fewer months aft India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, took office, Indian authorities issued an apprehension warrant for Nijjar. New Delhi described Nijjar arsenic the “mastermind” of the militant radical Khalistan Tiger Force.

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He was accused of being progressive successful the 2007 bombing of a cinema successful Punjab. A 2016 Interpol announcement against him alleged helium was a “key conspirator” successful the attack. He was accused of recruiting and fundraising, a complaint that Nijjar vehemently denied.

After Nijjar was changeable dead, his supporters protested extracurricular the Indian consulate successful Vancouver.

“This enactment of unit was predictable and was foreseen. It is unacceptable for us,” Jatinder Singh Grewal, manager of Sikhs for Justice, said.

Several radical associated with Nijjar said helium had expressed fears that helium was being targeted and his beingness was nether threat. Nijjar was said to beryllium “very vocal” astir threats that were being made to him “discreetly,” and different individuals associated with the gurudwara person besides faced threats.

Last week, a referendum that Nijjar had been moving connected was held successful Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara, wherever Nijjar served arsenic president. The non-binding and unofficial ballot was organized by Sikhs for Justice, a radical that advocates for a Khalistani nation.

The group estimated much than 100,000 radical attended the ballot successful Surrey.

What are Canadian leaders saying?

On Monday, leaders of each 3 large parties successful Canada roseate to code the substance successful the House of Commons.

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“Canada is simply a regularisation of law,” Trudeau told the House of Commons. “Our country, the extortion of our citizens and defence of our sovereignty are fundamental.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre told the House that if the allegations are proven true, they correspond an “outrageous affront” to Canadian sovereignty. He called connected the Indian authorities to cooperate with “utmost transparency”.

But the astir affectional entreaty came from NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is the archetypal Sikh-Canadian to pb a large Canadian governmental party.

Singh, who is banned from travelling to India, spoke successful Punjabi successful the House.

“All I privation to accidental successful Punjabi is everything we heard today, we each knew arsenic children that the Indian authorities commits galore atrocities. But we ne'er thought we’d person to look this information aft coming here, to Canada. I privation to accidental to everyone, that I americium here,” helium said.

“With immoderate spot I have, I volition not budge till justness is served successful this case. I volition not budge till each nexus is investigated and justness is served.”

With files from Global’s Stewart Bell, Elizabeth McSheffrey,  Christa Dao,  Darrian Matassa-Fung

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