No foreign interference behind the attack on residence of Nijjar associate: Canada | World News - Hindustan Times
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No foreign interference behind the attack on residence of Nijjar associate: Canada

Feb 21, 2024 01:02 PM IST

Pro-Khalistan groups, including Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had alleged that India was responsible for the firing at the home of Simranjeet Singh in the early hours of February 1

Toronto: Canadian law enforcement has said they have not established any links to foreign interference as they charged two teenagers for a shooting that targeted the residence of an associate of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was killed in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.

A protest outside India’s consulate, a week after Canada's PM Justin Trudeau raised the prospect of New Delhi's involvement in the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on September 25, 2023. (REUTERS)
A protest outside India’s consulate, a week after Canada's PM Justin Trudeau raised the prospect of New Delhi's involvement in the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on September 25, 2023. (REUTERS)

In a release on Tuesday, the Surrey detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said, “At the time of this incident, there was speculation circulating that this was connected to foreign interference. Investigators have not established any links to foreign interference in relation to this matter.”

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Pro-Khalistan groups, including Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had alleged that India was responsible for the firing at the home of Simranjeet Singh in the early hours of February 1. They had connected the attack with the fact that Singh had helped organise a protest outside the Indian consulate in Vancouver on January 26. Moninder Singh, spokesperson for the British Columbia Gurdwaras Council and also a prominent separatist in Canada, told the outlet CBC News at the time that Simranjeet Singh “feels like this is the Indian state, or their actors, that are playing their part here to kind of scare them off from…the activism work that he’s doing”.

He also said he believed Simnranjeet Singh’s connection to Nijjar could have been a factor.

The two 16-year-olds have not been named as they are minors. Surrey RCMP spokesperson Cpl Sarbjit K Sangha said that they were arrested on February 12 and the British Columbia Prosecution Service approved charges against them of Discharging a Firearm into a place and Possessing a Loaded Prohibited Firearm. “The youths are currently being held in custody awaiting their next court appearance,” she added.

SFJ had also accused India of being behind shots being fired at a house under construction in Brampton, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), on February 12, as it belonged to Inderjeet Singh Gosal, who helped organise the so-called Khalistan Referendum in Surrey on September 23 after its coordinator Nijjar was killed. There have been no updates with relation to the investigation into that episode. However, drive-by shootings, targeting residences, mainly for the purpose of extortion, have become rife in both the Lower Mainland region of BC, where Surrey in located, as well as the GTA.

Relations between India and Canada cratered last year when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in the House of Commons on September 18 that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and Nijjar’s killing. That case is being probed by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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