With diplomatic ties between India and Canada reaching a new low after Justin Trudeau’s claims of “potential link between agents of Indian government” and Khalistani terror group chief Hardeep Singh’s Nijjar’s death, top government sources told News18 that during Trudeau and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting on the sidelines of the recent G20 Summit in New Delhi, the latter had raised the serious issue of terror activities in the North American country, and sought cooperation in the investigation in ongoing cases against the Khalistani extremists by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and Punjab Police.
“Modi was almost ready with dossier on everything and told him (Trudeau) in all clear terms about how terror activities are happening from Canada,” government sources told News18.
During Trudeau’s extended stay in New Delhi, after his plane encountered a technical error post the G20 Summit, terror groups had started threatening India, which didn’t go down well diplomatically, sources added.
According to a government insider, Trudeau’s agencies back home also don’t support the Khalistani extremism but his government has “no solution but to come up with the Nijjar issue”.
Important to Convey Trudeau
Top government sources revealed that Indian intelligence agencies had “time to time” apprised PM Modi about the anti-India propaganda in Canada and the terror networks from Punjab working for ‘supari killing’ (contract killing) and creating anti-India rhetoric on social media.
The Indian government has video proofs where arms training was being given in the Gurdwara of Canada, sources pointed out.
The recent increase in attacks on Indian diplomats and missions in Canada was a major concern for the Indian government.
The Ministry of External Affairs had also issued a statement during the September 10 meeting between both the leaders that Modi had conveyed to Trudeau India’s “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada” who are “promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises, and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship. The nexus of such forces with organised crime, drug syndicates and human trafficking should be a concern for Canada as well. It is essential for the two countries to cooperate in dealing with such threats”.
Prime Minister also mentioned that a relationship based on mutual respect and trust is essential for the progress of India-Canada relationship.
Baseless Allegations by Canadian Govt
Top intelligence sources told News18 that the Indian authorities have questioned why Trudeau’s government never cooperated with the investigation in several terror cases against the Khalistani extremists in Canada.
Multiple letter rogatory (LRs) are pending with the Canadian government for which they never replied, sources told News18. “Not even a single arrest happened despite knowing the video and audio evidence.” Even the Canadian National Security Advisor was briefed by Indian agencies about the Khalistani situation during the recent G20 Summit. The Canadian NSA assured cooperation but there has been no response so far, the sources added.
Nijjar Key for Canada’s Khalistan Narrative
Top intelligence sources reveal that the Indian government had sought extradition of Nijjar several times but there was no cooperation from the Canadian authorities. He was even granted the Canadian citizenship after a red corner notice by Interpol was issued against him in 2014.
Nijjar’s involvement in terror activities began with his membership into Babbar Khalsa International, led by Jagtar Singh Tara, and later established his own organisation Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF).
Nijjar’s main job was to identify youth born after 1984 and radicalise them for terror activities. More than 10 FIRs are pending against him in Punjab and with the NIA.
In 2014, Nijjar masterminded the assassination of self-proclaimed spiritual leader Baba Bhaniara. In December 2015, he reportedly organised an arms training camp in Canada for one Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was subsequently sent to Punjab with the mission to kill RSS leaders in January 2016. Dhaliwal was given training to use AK-47 assault rifles, sniper rifles, and pistols. But he was arrested in June 2016.
During the interrogation, Dhaliwal disclosed in his testimony how he was given the arms training in Canada by Nijjar.
According to the Punjab Police’s dossier, Nijjar partnered with fellow gangster Arshdeep Singh Dalla of Moga (now hiding in Canada), in November 2020 to raise a four-member KTF module in Punjab.
In 2021, Nijjar with the help from Dalla killed Manohar Lal, a follower of Dera Sacha Sauda. In January that year, they also attempted an attack on Hindu priest Pragya Gyan Muni.
Nijjar and Dalla were accused of sending tiffin bombs for nationwide attacks, which were recovered by various state police time to time.
According to intelligence agencies, Nijjar was closely working for ‘Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) legal counsel Gurpatwant Punnun and providing him support in carrying out terror activities.
Niijar was declared a terrorist in 2020 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) based on the findings by the probe agencies.
He was suspected to be behind the killing of Sikh leader Ripudaman Singh Malik in Surrey, Canada, on July 14, 2023.
The NIA dossier had said in order to reach the truth behind Malik’s murder, the Canadian police must thoroughly interrogate Nijjar and his associates.