In a shocking incident that has sent ripples through the Punjabi community in Canada, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a designated terrorist and Khalistan supporter, was shot dead at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in the Punjabi-dominated Surrey city of British Columbia province. Nijjar, the chief of the pro-Khalistani outfit Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was wanted in several cases related to Sikh radicalism, including a conspiracy to kill a Hindu priest in Punjab.
Nijjar’s involvement in promoting the secessionist and terror agenda of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun-run ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) had gained notoriety. Pannun, recognizing Nijjar’s involvement in terror activities in India, had appointed him as the representative of SFJ in Canada, with the task of promoting the ‘Referendum-2020 campaign.’ The campaign sought to gather support for a separate Khalistan.
Despite claiming to earn a living as a plumber, Nijjar had forcibly occupied Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh temple, eventually becoming its president. Over the past couple of years, he had been an active participant in protests in front of the Consulate General of India in Vancouver, aligning himself with anti-India sentiments.
Nijjar had established connections with individuals such as Moninder Boyle, a Canada-born Sikh known for his separatist leanings. Boyle, who recently held the position of president at Sri Dashmesh Darbar, another gurdwara in Surrey, was allegedly associated with promoting anti-India Khalistani elements.
The incident at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara has raised concerns about the presence of extremist elements within certain Sikh religious institutions in Canada. While the Sikh community is diverse and peaceful, the actions of a few individuals have sparked tensions and posed challenges to the harmonious coexistence of various communities.
Law enforcement agencies, including the National Investigation Agency (NIA), had been actively pursuing Nijjar, with the NIA even declaring a cash reward of Rs10 lakh for information leading to his arrest. His death marks a significant development in the efforts to curb Sikh radicalism and dismantle the networks promoting violence and separatism.
The investigation into Nijjar’s murder is underway, with Canadian authorities working closely with Indian intelligence agencies to unravel the motives behind the attack. The incident serves as a reminder of the need for enhanced vigilance in countering terrorism and extremist ideologies, while also emphasizing the importance of addressing grievances and promoting dialogue to foster peace and unity within communities.
As the Punjabi community in Canada mourns the loss of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, discussions regarding the implications of his activities and the underlying reasons for his radicalization have gained momentum. It is hoped that this tragic incident will serve as a catalyst for introspection and proactive measures to prevent the further spread of extremism and violence, ultimately strengthening the bonds between diverse communities in Canada and abroad.
Sources By Agencies