Canada-Based Khalistan Tiger Force Chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar Assassinated Outside Surrey Gurdwara: In a shocking turn of events, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canada-based chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), and a figure high on India’s most-wanted list, was brutally assassinated outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey. Nijjar, who hailed from Bharsinghpur village in Punjab’s Jalandhar, had been a key player in alleged terrorist activities in India, prompting the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to offer a substantial reward of ₹10 lakh for information leading to his arrest.
The incident occurred around 8:27 pm (local time) on Sunday when Nijjar was found dead inside a car in the gurdwara’s parking lot, succumbing to bullet wounds inflicted by two unidentified assailants. The premises, where he served as the head, became a crime scene as Canadian officials began their investigation into the high-profile assassination.
Nijjar’s affiliation with the Khalistan Tiger Force and his role as a proponent of the separatist Khalistan movement had drawn the attention of Indian authorities. His demise outside the sacred Sikh Gurdwara has not only shocked the local Sikh community but has also ignited a wave of emotions within the larger Indian diaspora.
The Canadian police, while moving Nijjar’s body from the scene, encountered a group of Sikhs who raised pro-Khalistan and anti-India slogans. This response underscores the complex dynamics surrounding the Khalistan movement, which has historical roots in the demand for an independent Sikh state. Nijjar’s association with the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib adds an additional layer of complexity, raising questions about the interplay between religious institutions and political ideologies within the Sikh community abroad.
The NIA’s pursuit of Nijjar was intensified in July of the previous year when they announced a ₹10 lakh cash reward for information leading to his arrest. This move came in the aftermath of an attack on a Hindu priest in Jalandhar in 2021, with the NIA subsequently filing a charge sheet against Nijjar and three others. The allegations included not only his involvement in the attack but also his promotion of the secessionist and violent agenda of the pro-Khalistan group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ within India.
The assassination of Nijjar prompts a reexamination of the Khalistan movement’s influence on Sikh communities abroad, particularly in Canada, which has a significant Sikh population. The interplay between religious identity, political ideologies, and acts of violence underscores the challenges faced by governments in managing extremism within diasporic communities.
The incident also raises concerns about the security of religious institutions outside India and their vulnerability to extremist activities. The fact that Nijjar was killed within the premises of a gurdwara, a place of worship and communal gathering, adds a disturbing dimension to the event.
As investigations unfold, authorities will likely delve into Nijjar’s connections, both within the Sikh diaspora and with international extremist networks. Understanding the global reach and impact of groups advocating for Khalistan is crucial for addressing the root causes of such violence and preventing its recurrence.
The response of the Sikh community in Canada, as witnessed through the slogans raised during the police’s removal of Nijjar’s body, highlights the need for nuanced and sensitive approaches in addressing the complex emotions tied to the Khalistan movement. Bridging the gap between the concerns of the Sikh diaspora and the security imperatives of the countries they reside in will be essential for fostering understanding and preventing the radicalization of individuals within these communities.
In conclusion, the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar sends shockwaves through the Sikh diaspora and raises questions about the intersection of religion, politics, and violence. As investigations progress, the international community will closely monitor the developments, hoping for insights that can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the challenges posed by extremist ideologies within diasporic communities.