Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a prominent Sikh leader in Canada who advocated for the creation of a separate Sikh state called Khalistan. He was also the leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a separatist organization that India has designated as a terrorist group.
Nijjar was born in India in 1977. He came to Canada in 2003 and was granted refugee status in 2007. He was a vocal critic of the Indian government and its treatment of Sikhs. He also campaigned for the Khalistan referendum, a non-binding vote on whether or not Sikhs should support the creation of an independent Khalistan.
On June 18, 2023, Nijjar was shot and killed outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia. His murder sparked outrage among the Sikh community in Canada and around the world.
The Canadian government is investigating Nijjar’s murder. In September 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canadian intelligence had identified “credible allegations” of a link between Nijjar’s murder and agents of the Indian government. India has denied any involvement in Nijjar’s murder.
Nijjar’s death has exacerbated tensions between Canada and India. In September 2023, Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat in response to India’s alleged involvement in Nijjar’s murder.
Nijjar was a controversial figure. He was revered by many Sikhs as a freedom fighter, but he was also reviled by the Indian government as a terrorist. His murder has raised important questions about the right to free speech and the role of foreign governments in domestic affairs.
Nijjar’s death has had a significant impact on the Sikh community in Canada and around the world. His supporters have rallied around his legacy, calling for justice and self-determination. His murder has also sparked a renewed debate about the Khalistan movement and the role of violence in separatist struggles.
It is too early to say what Nijjar’s long-term legacy will be. However, it is clear that he was a polarizing figure who generated strong feelings on both sides. His death has highlighted the deep divisions that exist within the Sikh community and the challenges that face the Khalistan movement.