India, Canada cooperate on inquiry into activities of pro-Khalistan activist

India is confident of securing cooperation of Canadian law enforcement authorities in the ongoing investigation into the activities of pro-Khalistan Canadian resident Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
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Published on Dec 03, 2021 04:14 PM IST
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ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Toronto

India is confident of securing cooperation of Canadian law enforcement authorities in the ongoing investigation into the activities of pro-Khalistan Canadian resident Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

An Indian official confirmed that Nijjar was among those focused upon during discussions with Canadian law enforcement when a two-member team of Indias’ National Investigation Agency (NIA) visited Ottawa in early November.

“Material” related to Nijjar’s activities were shared with the Canadian interlocutors and the NIA was assured of cooperation.

The NIA team was in Ottawa at the invitation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and also held meetings with the International Crime and Counter-terrorism Bureau of Global Affairs Canada and with senior officials from the International Affairs Division of Public Safety Canada.

At the time, a release issued by India’s high commission in Ottawa noted the visit was intended, among other matters, to ensure “better coordinating investigation against entities and individuals suspected of terrorism and to discuss other criminal matters”.

India had also sought the listing of the separatist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) as a terrorist entity by Canada. Nijjar, originally from Jalandhar and a resident of Surrey in British Columbia, is SFJ’s principal figure in Canada.

Perhaps not coincidentally, days after the NIA team returned to India, the agency filed a chargesheet against Nijjar before a special court in New Delhi, under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, related to planning terror acts in India.

Nijjar and the SFJ have denied any involvement in terrorism though they openly support secession and are behind the non-binding Punjab Referendum, which is currently in progress. SFJ’s legal counsel Gurpatwant Pannun told the Hindustan Times India was “using charges of terrorism” against Nijjar as “a weapon to stop him from promoting Khalistan Referendum Campaign in Punjab”.

He also said their lawyers were “preparing to seek records from (the Justin) Trudeau government about the meeting between NIA and Canadian law enforcement”.

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