Hardeep Singh Nijjar: Trudeau's 'Canadian Citizen' Who Was Wanted For Multiple Terror Acts In India

Swarajya Staff

Sep 21, 2023, 09:51 AM | Updated 10:35 AM IST

Terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar

The bilateral ties between India and Canada are at a new low after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that India was involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar, a staunch proponent of a creating an independent Sikh nation, Khalistan, was shot dead on 18 June outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia by unknown assailants.

Nijjar was wanted by India's NIA and Punjab police due to his involvement in multiple terrorist activities.

It should be noted that Trudeau referred to Nijjar as "Canadian Citizen" in his statement accusing India of his killing in the the House of Commons.

However, the citizenship status of Nijjar, who arrived in Canada in 1997, is shrouded in mystery.

Born and raised in the village of Bhar Singh Pura in Jalandhar, Punjab, Nijjar migrated to Canada in 1997, where he sought asylum on the grounds that he was tortured by Indian authorities but the Canadian officials denied the application as they suspected the medical document produced by him was fabricated.

Days after rejection of his application, Nijjar quickly married a British Columbia woman, potentially to secure residency as her spouse. This new approach was equally fraught with challenges as Canadian immigration was unconvinced about the authenticity of the marriage.

They found that Nijjar's wife had previously sponsored another man's immigration to Canada just a year earlier, raising further suspicions.

Immigration officials considered it a marriage of convenience and rejected Nijjar’s application.

Nijjar appealed to the courts against the immigration officials' decision to reject his application.

After facing rejection in the courts too in 2001, Nijjar's citizenship status remained a topic of speculation, especially as he later identified himself as a Canadian citizen.

In a post on ‘X’ on Tuesday (19 September) night, Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller said: “I can confirm that Nijjar became a Canadian citizen on March 3, 2015. I hope this dispels the baseless rumours that he was not a Canadian.”

On Wednesday, however, Miller posted, “Nijjar became a Canadian citizen on May 25, 2007, earlier than I stated. The error in dates is my responsibility to assume.”

Indian agencies are, however, skeptical of Miller's latest claim.

Nijjar's involvement in terror acts in India

After settling in Canada, Nijjar's life took a dark turn as he became deeply entangled with Khalistani terrorism. He played a significant role in the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a terror outfit notorious for its involvement in acts of terrorism and subsequently banned.

Nijjar was also associated with the outlawed separatist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). His actions led to him being designated a terrorist by the Indian government in 2020.

The Punjab Police have been on the lookout for him for almost a decade. He was allegedly involved in an explosion near Satya Narayan temple in Patiala in the year 2010 and for plotting to kill religious leaders in the state.

Nijjar was wanted in connection with the 2007 blast in Ludhiana, Punjab, which resulted in the deaths of six people and left around 40 individuals injured.

He was also suspected of being involved in the assassination of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat President Rulda Singh in Patiala in 2009.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for information leading to Nijjar's apprehension.

This announcement came in July 2022 for his suspected involvement in the murder of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar, Punjab in January 2021.

The NIA was also actively probing recent attacks on Indian diplomatic missions in Canada, the UK, and the US, with possible links to Nijjar's activities, Economic Times reported.

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