India-Canada diplomatic row: Sikh groups threaten protests in Canada
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, was allegedly shot dead on June 18
Sikhs For Justice, a Khalistani separatist group operating from Canada, has called for peaceful protests with threat to ‘shut down’ Indian consulate offices in Canada next week over Hardeep Singh Nijjar's alleged murder. Nijjar, president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, was allegedly shot dead on June 18 at the Surrey temple’s parking lot after evening prayers.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed on Monday, September 18, that authorities had obtained “credible” intelligence “agents of the government of India” were behind the murder. India’s Ministry of External Affairs has strongly denied the claims and retaliated by sacking Canadian dimplomat.
According to report by Global news protests are set to take place outside Indian consulates in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver next week. “We will not allow the Indian consulates to function and we’re going to push the Canadian government to name the individuals who are responsible for assassinating and giving the orders to hit Nijjar,” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal counsel for Sikhs for Justice was quoted by Global News.
India said in a statement that it rejects “any attempts to connect Government of India to such developments,” calling itself “a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law.” The Ministry of External Affairs wrote, “We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil.”
Sikhs for Justice, which is known for organising referendum votes on Khalistan around the world, is seeking the expulsion of Indian High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Verma. Calling the alleged murder an attack against Sikhs and also on Canadian sovereignty.
Harkireet Kaur, a member of the North American Sikh Association, said Hardeep was “like a father” at the Gurdwara.
“People are livid right now. This is a news story that obviously has shaken the whole country. It’s also a news story that has shaken the community to a certain extent,” said Jaskaran Sandhu, a board member with the World Sikh Organization of Canada.
Hardeep’s murder is being investigated by the RCMP. No arrests have been made yet. However, investigators are on the lookout for three suspects. A suspect vehicle believed to be the getaway car has reportedly already been identified.