THE World Sikh Organization (WSO) on Monday said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had confirmed what Canadian Sikhs have known for months – that credible evidence exists to substantiate that agents of the Government of India were involved in the targeted killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil.
Nijjar was assassinated in a targeted shooting on June 18 in the parking lot of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, where he served as the gurdwara’s president and was an outspoken supporter of Khalistan. He often led peaceful protests against the violation of human rights actively taking place in India and in support of Khalistan, the WSO noted.
It said that Nijjar had publicly spoken of the threat to his life for months and said that he was targeted by Indian intelligence agencies. The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and local law enforcement were aware of the threat to Nijjar, as well as other Sikh activists in Canada, and had been alerted of this danger from multiple sources.
The WSO noted that Nijjar was one of several prominent Sikh leaders to have died in targeted killings in recent months including in Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Several other Canadian Sikhs are also understood to be under threat by India and on so-called ‘hit lists’.
Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau addressed the Parliament and all Canadians regarding the tragic murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
"Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty." pic.twitter.com/h7pLPo4lah
— Sukh Dhaliwal (@sukhdhaliwal) September 18, 2023
It added that for years, it and Canadian Sikhs have been alerting the Government of Canada about Indian interference in Canada.
The WSO called for the following measures:
- Canada must immediately identify and bring to justice those individuals who were involved in the targeted killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
- Immediate protection for Sikhs in Canada who face a threat from India and its agents.
- Canada must conduct a thorough and continuous review of all Indian diplomats and consular officials in Canada and immediately remove those found to have been involved in interference, surveillance and espionage in Canada.
- Canada must ensure heightened measures are introduced so that Indian nationals involved in that country’s security and intelligence forces and in human rights abuses are not permitted to enter Canada.
- Canada must immediately stop all intelligence sharing with India and withdraw from the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism with India.
- The Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions must examine India’s role in foreign interference here in Canada.
WSO President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said: “The significance of today’s announcement cannot be understated for Sikhs. Today, the Prime Minister of Canada has publicly said what Sikhs in Canada have known for decades- India actively targets Sikhs in Canada. 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.
“Today’s announcement must be followed by concrete action. India cannot be allowed to disregard the rule of law and the sovereignty of foreign states. The killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and other Sikh activists were terrorist acts that must be condemned by the international community. Those responsible for these killings must be immediately brought to justice. India should honour its international obligations and cooperate with the Government of Canada in investigating these matters.
“There are other Sikhs in Canada who face an ongoing threat to their lives. Every possible measure must be taken to ensure their safety.
“The Sikh community will not be intimidated or frightened by the actions of the Government of India. Sikhs will continue to fearlessly advocate for Khalistan and against Indian human rights abuses, as they have the right to do.”