Mon. Dec 4th, 2023
Who is Hardeep Singh Nigar, the Sikh activist whose murder led to the partition of Canada and India?

NEW DELHI (AP) — Hardeep Singh Nigar, a Sikh independence advocate whose killing two months in the past was on the coronary heart of a rising rift between India and Canada, has been labeled a human rights activist by Sikh organizations and a terrorist by the Indian authorities.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated Monday that his authorities was investigating “credible allegations that Indian state brokers have been linked to the killing of a Canadian citizen” after Nigar was shot to dying on June 18 outdoors a Sikh cultural middle in Surrey, British Columbia.

India denied any role in the killing and described these allegations as ridiculous.

Al-Najjar was a outstanding member of the motion Establishing an independent homeland for Sikhs Often known as Khalistan, on the time of his dying he was organizing an unofficial referendum among the many Sikh diaspora with Sikhs for Justice.

He additionally owned a plumbing firm and served as head of the native Sikh temple or gurdwara.

Najjar was a wished man in India, the place authorities designated him a terrorist in 2020.

In 2016, Indian media reported that he was suspected of masterminding a bombing within the Sikh-majority state of Punjab and coaching terrorists in a small metropolis southeast of Vancouver.

He denied the allegations and advised the Vancouver Solar that he was too busy to take part in Sikh diaspora politics.

“That is nonsense – all these claims. I have been dwelling right here for 20 years, proper? Take a look at my file. There may be nothing. I’m a hard-working individual. Al-Najjar advised the newspaper: “I personal my very own enterprise within the subject of plumbing.”

After his dying, the World Sikh Group of Canada described Najjar as an outspoken supporter of Khalistan who “typically led peaceable protests towards human rights violations actively occurring in India and in assist of Khalistan.”

India has waged a generally bloody battle towards the Sikh independence motion because the Eighties, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered a raid to arrest armed separatists who had taken refuge in a significant Sikh temple.

The raid killed a whole lot of individuals, and he or she was assassinated by two of Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards quickly after. In response, anti-Sikh riots broke out throughout India, with members of the minority group being dragged from their properties and killed.

Extra lately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led authorities has cracked down on non-Hindu human rights actions and dissidents.

India additionally filed a prison case towards Nigar in 2020 for “conspiring to create an environment of worry and lawlessness, and incite folks to insurgent towards the federal government of India” when farmers, lots of them from Punjab, camped on the outskirts of New Delhi. To protest towards the controversial farm legal guidelines.

Final yr, Indian authorities accused Al-Najjar of involvement in an alleged assault on a Hindu priest in India and introduced a reward of about $16,000 for info resulting in his arrest.

Canadian police stated Al-Najjar was shot and killed as he left the car parking zone of the Sikh temple the place he served as president. He suffered a number of gunshot wounds and died on the scene.

After the killing, lawyer and spokesman for Sikhs for Justice, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, stated Najjar had been the goal of threats due to his activism. And he was killed The second in two years A outstanding member of the Sikh neighborhood in Canada.

Bannon stated that he spoke to Al-Najjar on the telephone the day earlier than his killing, and that Al-Najjar advised him that Canadian intelligence had warned him that his life was at risk.

On June 24, about 200 Sikh protesters in Canada gathered in entrance of the Indian Consulate in Vancouver to exhibit towards Nigar’s killing. They described him as “peaceable” and “humble” and rejected allegations that he was linked to violence.

Many protesters have been satisfied that Najjar’s killing was linked to his requires an unbiased Sikh state.

“He was a loving, hardworking man and a household man,” stated Gurkirat Singh, one of many protesters.

On Monday, Moninder Singh, spokesman for the Sikh Gurdwara Council of British Columbia, advised Canada’s CTV that the wave of assist Najjar noticed after his dying was a sign of how he was seen in society.

“This has shaken the neighborhood all around the world, together with in Punjab,” Singh stated.

“The neighborhood is shattered. There are very, very excessive feelings,” Sukh Dhaliwal, a member of parliament who represents Surrey, stated days after he was killed in June.


Cohen reported from Bangkok.

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