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Canada-India Tensions Escalate
Canada says it has received “credible allegations” that Indian government agents were involved in the deadly shooting of prominent Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed on Monday.
One of the largest Sikh diaspora populations in the world resides in Canada, which is also a hotspot of Sikh activism, notably the Khalistan movement, which aims to establish an independent Sikh homeland in India. Nijjar openly supported this cause.
Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar?
According to Canadian news outlet Global News, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was born in the northern Indian state of Punjab and has been residing in Canada for over 25 years. He owned a plumbing company and presided over the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in British Columbia, a Sikh shrine. A 45-year-old man, he.
The movement to establish a separate Sikh state in northern Punjab, India, was led by Nijjar. He had been labeled a “terrorist” by the Indian government, and New Delhi, according to Indian news reports, had issued an arrest warrant for him.
In a 2016 Interpol notice, Nijjar was accused of being a “major conspirator” in a cinema bombing in Punjab in 2007. Global News reported that he was also accused of recruiting and fundraising, allegations he denied. His wife and two adult sons are said to have survived him, according to Canadian media
How did Nijjar’s killing occur?
On the evening of June 18, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police received a report of a shooting outside a Sikh temple where Nijjar was serving as the president. According to the police, Najjar was shot numerous times inside his pickup truck and died immediately.
Two suspects, described as heavily built men with covered faces, fled the scene. Police had previously confirmed that a third suspect had assisted two gunmen in escaping in a silver 2008 Toyota Camry. All three suspects were still at large as of Monda
The shooting was “targeted,” according to the police, though they did not specify why. Some Sikhs are concerned that the murder was committed for political objectives. Nijjar had reportedly received warnings from Canadian intelligence officials that he was in danger, according to his friends.
What did Trudeau say about his case?
Trudeau said legislators on Monday that Canadian investigators were collaborating with their Indian counterparts to look into Nijjar’s death and were working on “credible allegations” involving Indian government agents.
“Any foreign government’s involvement in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is a blatant violation of our sovereignty,” he declared.It runs afoul of the fundamental tenets that underpin open, libertarian, and democratic natioTrudeau acknowledged that members of the Indian-Canadian community may be “upset or perhaps fearful,” before urging cooperation with the Indian government “to get to the bottom of this matter.”
He mentioned that he had briefed top Indian security and intelligence officials about his “deep concerns” and had informed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a “personal and direct” manner at the start of this month’s G20 summit in New York.
How has this affected Canada-India relations?
Canada’s Foreign Minister, Mélanie Joly, told reporters on Monday that they had ordered the expulsion of an Indian diplomat, whom she referred to as the “chief” of the Indian intelligence agency in Canada. She said that Trudeau had raised allegations in front of US President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and they will be discussing it at the United Nations General Assembly this week.
Canada’s Public Safety Minister, Dominic LeBlanc, told reporters that Canadian security officials have met with their Indian counterparts in recent weeks on several occasions regarding the allegations. He repeatedly dodged queries about whether Indian officials were interfering in the Canadian investigation, though.
Canadian authorities announced this week that they had canceled a long-planned trade mission to Mumbai next month and halted trade talks.
How has India responded?
India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement on Tuesday, dismissing Canada’s allegations as “baseless.” Following the G20 summit, Modi’s office released a statement stating that the Indian leader had made Trudeau aware of “Canada’s harboring of extremist elements who continue to promote separatism and violence.”
Indian authorities have recently issued warnings over the potential resurgence of Sikh separatist activities in Punjab. In April, authorities arrested a self-proclaimed Sikh separatist, Amritpal Singh, after a month-long chase, during which he partially blocked the internet and censored social media.
What is Sikhism?
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region more than five centuries ago. The majority of the world’s over 25 million Sikhs reside in India, where they are a religious minority. Additionally, major Sikh populations can be found in the US, Canada, and the UK.
According to Sikh tradition, the turban, which can be worn by both men and women, is one of the most visible aspects of Sikh identity. The religion advocates for universal equality.
In the 2021 census, nearly 770,000 people in Canada identified as Sikh. When Trudeau became Prime Minister in 2015, four members of his cabinet were of Sikh origin. The leader of the center-left New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, is also Si
While some Sikh community members support separatist movements, many do not, and support for separatism is limited in Punjab.
What is the Khalistan Movement?
Nijjar’s death has drawn renewed attention to the Khalistan movement and tensions between the Indian state and Sikh separatists.
Starting in the 1940s, the goal of this movement was to establish a sovereign state called Khalistan for the Sikh population in India. Because they consider it to be a national security danger, the Indian government has proclaimed it to be illegal.
There is a thriving Sikh diaspora community in Canada, some of whom support the creation of a separate Sikh country.
In recent years, rising terrorism-related indications in Punjab have alarmed Indian security officials.
According to Human Rights Watch, thousands were killed in the Sikh insurgency of the 1980s
and 1990s. In 1985, a Sikh extremist was convicted of the bombing of Air India Flight 182, which killed all 329 people on board and was en route from Canada to India.