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Who Was Hardeep Singh Nijjar? Khalistan Terrorist at Centre of India-Canada Tussle | EXPLAINED

Last Updated: September 20, 2023, 16:50 IST

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was from Bharsinghpur village in Punjab’s and moved to Canada in 1997. (Credits: IANS)

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was from Bharsinghpur village in Punjab’s and moved to Canada in 1997. (Credits: IANS)

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a member of Sikhs for Justice, was declared a ‘wanted terrorist’ by the government. He played a key role in organising the Khalistan referendum in Brampton

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused India of being involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar earlier this year. Trudeau said there are “credible allegations of a potential link” between agents of the Indian government and the killing of the Sikh leader.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a wanted Khalistani terrorist, was slain in June in British Columbia, raising tensions between Sikh separatists and the Indian government.

“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government,” Trudeau said on Monday in the Ottawa legislature. he added that he raised those concerns “personally and directly” with his Indian counterpart, PM Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting last week in New Delhi.

The Ministry of External Affairs while responding to the allegations on Tuesday said the claims made by Trudeau are ‘motivated’ and ‘absurd’.

How was Hardeep Singh Nijjar Killed

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead outside a gurdwara in the Punjabi-dominated Surrey city of British Columbia province of Canada by two unidentified bike-borne assailants.

Nijjar, President of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara and member of a separatist organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), was declared a ‘wanted terrorist’ by the Indian government, due to his involvement in acts of violence.

The Indian government also directed Canadian authorities to act against the terrorist and his name had featured on a list of 40 designated terrorists released by the Indian government. His outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) is also banned in India.

Who is Hardeep Singh Nijjar?

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was from Bharsinghpur village in Punjab’s Jalandhar and there were several cases registered against him in terror activities. He moved to Canada in 1997 and worked as a plumber.

During the early years, he was involved in Babbar Khalsa International and later made his own organisation Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a Canada-based pro-Khalistan outfit.

Here is a list of crimes committed by the Khalistani terrorist:

  • He was involved in identifying youth born after 1984 and radicalising them for terror activities.
  • In 2014, he organised the killing of self-proclaimed spiritual leader Baba Bhaniara.
  • Hardeep Singh Nijjar was then involved in organising an arms training camp in Mission Hills in Canada in 2015.
  • He allegedly trained one Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal to use weapons including AK-47 and sniper rifles and sent him to Punjab in 2016 to kill RSS leaders. However, Mandeep was arrested in June 2016 before he could execute the plan.
  • According to Punjab police, Nijjar in association with gangster Arshdeep Singh Dala of Moga (now hiding in Canada) raised a four-member KTF module in Punjab in 2020.
    A sign outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple after the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey. (Credits: Reuters)
  • In 2021, Nijjar was involved in the murder of Manohar Lal, a follower of the Dera Sacha Sauda, and attempted an attack on Hindu priest Pragya Gyan Muni.
  • He also tried killing Shakti Singh, who is an accused in three cases registered in connection with the Bargari sacrilege.
  • The Khalistani terrorist was also accused of sending Tiffin bombs with the help of Arsh Dalla for nationwide attacks, which were recovered successively by the police.
  • Nijjar was closely working with Sikhs for Justice founder Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and providing him support in carrying out terror activities, as per intelligence agencies.
  • He was also suspected to be behind the killing of Sikh leader Ripudaman Singh Mallik, the man who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India terrorist bombing case, in Surrey on July 14, 2022.

Anti-India Activities & Lookout Notice

The Indian security agencies registered several cases against Hardeep Singh Nijjar for waging war against the country and reviving terrorism. There have been more than 10 FIRs pending against him with the NIA and in Punjab.

A lookout circular was issued against Nijjar in 2015 and a red corner notice was issued in 2016. He was declared an “absconder” by the National Investigating Agency for his anti-India activities in Canada and was later designated a terrorist in 2020.

In July 2022, the NIA declared a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on Nijjar in connection with the killing of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar.

The chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force was known for his anti-India activities and played a key role in organising the Khalistan referendum in Brampton City. The Indian security agencies tried multiple time to extradite him to India from Canada in the past.

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