Ottawa (June 19, 2023): The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) calls on Canadian intelligence and law enforcement to fully investigate the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, including the role of foreign interference, specifically from India.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was assassinated in a targeted shooting last night in the parking lot of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey BC. Nijjar was the gurdwara's president and an outspoken supporter of Khalistan. He often lead protests against the violation of human rights in India and in support of Khalistan.
The Government of India’s National Intelligence Agency had placed a bounty of one million rupees for his capture in July 2022. Nijjar denied being involved in any criminal activity and said he was being targeted for his advocacy in support of Khalistan. Nijjar was placed on India’s ‘blacklist’ and Indian authorities seized and appropriated the land he held in his native village in Punjab, as punishment for his activism.
Nijjar had publicly spoken of the threat to his life for months and said that he would be targeted by Indian intelligence agencies. The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and local law enforcement were aware of the threat to Nijjar as well as other Sikh activists in Canada.
Nijjar’s assassination follows the assassination of other Khalistan activists in recent months. Last week, Avtar Singh Khanda, a prominent Khalistan activist in the UK, died in suspicious circumstances. Indian media claimed that Khanda had been poisoned. In May, another prominent Khalistan activist, Paramjeet Singh Panjwar, was killed in a targeted shooting in Lahore, Pakistan.
WSO President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said today,
“The assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar is gravely alarming for Sikhs in Canada. Nijjar openly and repeatedly stated that he would be targeted by Indian intelligence and this was made known to CSIS and law enforcement. CSIS has known that Nijjar faced an imminent threat to his life for months. The fact that he was assassinated in this manner is a failure of these bodies to provide protection to someone they knew would be targeted.
The role of foreign interference from India must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible for this crime must be brought to justice.
Thousands of Sikhs have fled India due to human rights abuses and oppression. India has a long track record of extra-judicially murdering individuals it accuses of being ‘anti-national’, but seeing this happen in Canada is deeply concerning for our community and should be a wake-up call for all Canadians, our government, and security-intelligence bodies.
While this killing may have had the intention of striking fear into the hearts of Sikhs, it will have the opposite effect. Sikhs will continue to fearlessly advocate for Khalistan and against Indian human rights abuses, as they have the right to do.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights of all individuals.