Khalistani Activist Hardeep Nijjar, Wanted in India, Shot Dead in Canada

The 46-year-old was accused in several terrorism-related cases in India and said to have played a key role in organising a referendum on Khalistan in Canada's Ontario last year.

New Delhi: Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a man who was president of a Canadian gurdwara and wanted for terrorism in India, was shot to death by unidentified people in Surrey, British Columbia on Sunday, June 18.

The 46-year-old was found dead inside his truck in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey on the evening of June 18, the Vancouver Sun reported.

Local police have not yet confirmed his identity.

“Surrey RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] is aware of social media posts that are speculating on the identity of the victim, but are not in a position to confirm the victim’s identity at this very early time,” the Sun quoted an RCMP officer as saying.

A Twitter page named “BCSikhs” announced Nijjar’s death on Sunday evening (Pacific Daylight Time) saying that he was “shot dead, in his truck exiting the Gurdwara parking lot, by two gunmen”.

The Union government identified Nijjar as a terrorist heading a module called the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and accused him of being involved in “exhorting seditionary and insurrectionary imputations”, as well as “attempting to create disharmony among different communities in India”.

In July last year, the National Investigation Agency had announced a Rs 10 lakh reward on Nijjar, accusing him of killing a Hindu priest in Jalandhar in 2021.

Nijjar was also wanted for a bomb blast case from 2007 that killed six people in Ludhiana.

The Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia where Nijjar was shot dead. Photo: Google Street View/Google Earth.

According to The Quint, Nijjar was crucial in organising a referendum on Khalistan – a proposed separate nation for Sikhs in Punjab – in Brampton, Ontario in 2022 which saw over 1,00,000 people participate.

The external affairs ministry raised objections to the referendum and took up the matter with the Canadian authorities.

“We find it deeply objectionable that politically motivated exercises by extremist elements are allowed to take place in a friendly country. You’re all aware of the history of violence in this regard. And the government of India will continue to press the government of Canada on this matter,” ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said.