Hardeep Singh Nijjar: The Khalistan Sympathizer Who Sparked an India-Canada Diplomatic Row
Hardeep Singh Nijjar: The Khalistan Sympathizer Who Sparked an India-Canada Diplomatic Row

The murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh leader and Khalistan sympathizer, has become the focal point of a diplomatic dispute between India and Canada. This article delves into the life of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, his controversial background, and the events leading up to the recent diplomatic tensions between the two nations.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar's Background:
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, aged 45, originally hailed from India but migrated to Canada in 1997, where he pursued a career as a plumber. In Surrey, Canada, Nijjar held the position of president at a Sikh temple. He was also closely associated with Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a prominent Khalistan separatist leader and founder of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), an organization that has been proscribed.

Khalistan Movement and Nijjar's Involvement:
Nijjar was accused of being one of the leaders of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a banned extremist group advocating for the secession of Punjab from India. His activities included issuing threats to Indian diplomats stationed in the UK, Canada, and Australia. Nijjar went to great lengths by organizing protests and rallies in Toronto, featuring posters of Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma and Consul General of India Apoorva Srivastava. These demonstrations aimed to coerce Indian authorities into accepting their demands, primarily the creation of a separate nation carved out of Punjab.

Legal Troubles and Refugee Status:
Upon his arrival in Canada, Nijjar claimed that he had been subjected to physical abuse and torture by Indian police in connection with his brother's arrest during the armed conflict between Sikh separatists and the Indian government in the 1980s and early 1990s. Nijjar faced legal complications in Canada, including the denial of his refugee claim in 1998. He had used a fraudulent passport with the name "Ravi Sharma" during the application process. Furthermore, his attempt to obtain immigration status through marriage was also thwarted, as Canadian immigration officials deemed it a "marriage of convenience."

Khalistan Advocacy and Charges:
Nijjar was a vocal advocate for a referendum on Khalistan and sought international recognition of anti-Sikh violence in India as "genocide." In 2016, Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against him, identifying him as a "key conspirator" in a 2007 cinema bombing in Punjab. He was accused of involvement in recruiting and fundraising for extremist activities, allegations he vehemently denied.

Designation as a Terrorist:
In 2020, the Indian government designated Hardeep Singh Nijjar as a 'terrorist' under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Subsequently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in India seized his property. These actions were taken as part of India's efforts to curb his alleged involvement in terror-related activities.

The murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Khalistan sympathizer and Canadian Sikh leader, has escalated tensions between India and Canada. Nijjar's controversial background, associations with Khalistan separatists, and his alleged involvement in extremist activities have raised questions and triggered diplomatic repercussions. The matter remains a subject of international scrutiny, as both nations grapple with the fallout from this tragic incident.

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