‘Always Suspected Indian Government’: Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s Son on Trudeau’s Allegation

Sikhs in British Columbia sought “better protection” for the community hours after the Canadian prime minister alleged that India was involved in the killing of a pro-Khalistani leader in June this year.

New Delhi: The son of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Sikh leader killed in June this year in Canada, said his family had always suspected that the Indian government was behind his father’s killing, asking the Canadian government to take “this a step further” to identify specific individuals who may have been involved and place sanctions.

According to CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, Balraj Singh Nijjar said he felt a “sense of relief” after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that the Indian government was involved in his father’s killing. He was speaking publicly for the first time since the killing of his father.

“It was just a matter of time for when the truth would come out… When we heard the news today, it was a sense of relief that it’s finally coming to the public eyes,” he said.

“Hopefully, you can take this a step further and get specific individuals… If you place sanctions, whatever the next steps are, we’re waiting as a family to see what it is,” he said, addressing Canadian leaders, according to CBC.

Meanwhile, Sikhs in Canada’s British Columbia (B.C.) asked for “better protection” for the community hours after Trudeau alleged India’s involvement in the killing.

Nijjar headed the pro-Khalistan outfits Khalistan Tiger Force and the Canadian arm of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). He was shot dead in the parking lot of a gurdwara in Surrey, B.C. 

He was wanted for the shooting of a priest in Punjab and was the third pro-Khalistan activist to die abroad in a month and a half. Immediately after his death, his supporters had claimed that the Indian government was behind the killing, The Wire had reported.

World Sikh Organisation president Tejinder Singh Sidhu said Trudeau’s announcement vindicated those who have “long accused India of targeting Canadian Sikhs”.

“The Prime Minister of Canada has publicly said what Sikhs in Canada have known for decades — India actively targets Sikhs in Canada,” he said in a statement.

“It should now be clear to all Canadians that the Government of India is a terrorist state that has brazenly engaged in extrajudicial killings not only on its own soil, but also on Canadian soil.”

Harkirat Kaur, a 19-year-old Sikh activist, on Monday said she was initially relieved to hear Trudeau say that there was “credible” intelligence linking the Indian government to the shooting of Nijjar, the Vancouver Sun reported

Also read: After Trudeau Alleges Indian Govt Link to Assassination of Sikh Citizen, India, Canada Expel Diplomats

However, the relief soon turned to resentment, she said. “Why did it take so long? Why did it take someone to be killed for us to have a little bit of acknowledgment of what is happening?” Kaur was quoted by the Vancouver Sun as saying. 

Moninder Singh, a spokesperson for the B.C. Sikh Gurdwara Council told CBC that the reaction of the Sikh community was “mixed”. “If Canada is actually declaring that India is an actual actor in this, I think that’s the first step towards acknowledging and the first step towards justice,” Singh said.

“But until we actually see people behind bars … I think it’s kind of like skepticism right now that something is actually going to happen.”

B.C. Premier David Eby also expressed concern. He said he had received a briefing from Canada’s spy agency about the “assassination” of Nijjar and was “deeply disturbed” by what he was told, the Vancouver Sun reported. 

Eby urged the federal government to share all information related to ongoing foreign interference and “transnational organised crime threats.”

“Canadians across the country must be safe from the interference of foreign governments, including being targeted for threats or physical harm, including murder. “Our democracy depends on it,” he said, adding that he needed more information from the federal government so the province could protect the people at risk.

Note: Additional details were added to this article after it was published. The headline was also changed.