Pro-Khalistan outfit SFJ plans to ‘question-target’ Indian envoy to Canada | World News - Hindustan Times
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Pro-Khalistan outfit SFJ plans to ‘question-target’ Indian envoy to Canada

Feb 29, 2024 11:53 AM IST

Sikhs for Justice has threatened to “target” Sanjay Kumar Verma ahead of his visit to Surrey since Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed last year.

The secessionist group Sikhs for Justice or SFJ has threatened to “target” India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa ahead of his first visit to Surrey since pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in that town in British Columbia on June 18 last year.

India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma speaking at an engagement in British Columbia on Wednesday.
India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma speaking at an engagement in British Columbia on Wednesday.

High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma’s visit to the province of British Columbia includes stops in the capital Victoria, as well as Vancouver and Surrey. On Friday, he is scheduled to meet with Surrey’s Mayor Brenda Locke and also with the Surrey Board of Trade.

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Also Read: Sikhs for Justice: Shots fired at Pannun associate’s home in Canada

In an email, SFJ general counsel Gurpatwant Pannun said his group will “Question-Target” Verma on March 1. Pannun said, “India is responsible for orchestrating assassination of Shaheed Nijjar and Pro-Khalistan Sikhs will have an opportunity in Surrey to directly ‘Challenge-Target-Question’” the Indian High Commissioner. A protest is also being organised in Surrey then.

This is Verma’s first visit to BC since March last year. Responding to the SFJ message, he said, “The threat against me has been conveyed to the concerned Canadian authorities, who have assured me of my security.”

“As you are aware, SFJ is a banned organization under Unlawful Association Prevention Act of India. It continues its venomous efforts to derail otherwise rich Canada-India bilateral relations,” he said.

Also Read: Sikhs for Justice asks Hindus of Indian origin to leave Canada

SFJ said it is “hiring lawyers to hold Indian diplomats accountable for orchestrating violence against pro-Khalistan Sikhs”.

Alluding to being targeted by Pannun, Verma said, “He has been doing so for quite some time, without any cost put on him by society or the system and by misusing freedom of speech.”

Nijjar, SFJ’s principal figure in the province, was gunned down in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara that he headed at the time. That murder subsequently led to bilateral relations being severely impacted after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in the House of Commons on September 18, 2023, there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing.

Since that killing, SFJ ran a poster campaign targeting India’s seniormost diplomats in Canada including Verma.

The High Commissioner’s previous visit to Surrey last year when on March 19, he had to cancel an appearance at a reception organised by the Friends of India & Canada Foundation in the town as nearly 200 protestors, some wielding swords, gathered in front of the venue, the Taj Park Convention Centre and blocked the entrance.

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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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