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Indian govt agents linked to Sikh leader’s murder in Canada?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has claimed that the Canadian authorities are actively scrutinising “credible allegations”, as per Reuters, pointing towards the involvement of Indian government agents in the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar earlier this year in British Columbia. Trudeau, on the other hand, did not directly blame India.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen of 45 years, was found critically injured with multiple bullet wounds inside a vehicle near the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on the night of June 18. Despite emergency medical efforts, Nijjar succumbed to his injuries at the scene, as confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Initially, investigators from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) took over the case. Their inquiry revealed that two “heavier set” men, who concealed their faces, fled on foot after the shooting. It was later established that a third suspect might have been involved, and a Silver 2008 Toyota Camry was identified as the getaway car. To date, no arrests have been made.

Local community members have voiced suspicions about potential “foreign interference” in Nijjar’s murder, Reuters added. While authorities remain cautious, Timothy Pierotti from IHIT indicated in the early days of the investigation that they were committed to following the facts, unswayed by public conjecture.

“We understand there is a lot of speculation regarding the motive of this homicide, but we are dedicated to learning the facts and letting the evidence lead our investigation,” Reuters quoted Pierotti as saying.

In a cautious tone, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly stated that, if the allegations against Indian government agents proved accurate, it would be unacceptable. 

Canada harbours a prominent Sikh community. According to many Indian leaders, fringe groups that favour the idea of an independent Sikh state, Khalistan, still exist within the community.

(With Reuters inputs)

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Updated: 19 Sep 2023, 07:22 AM IST

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