HomeAsian AmericansPossible motives behind murder of Sikh leader under investigation

Possible motives behind murder of Sikh leader under investigation


Canadian police are still investigating the motive behind the killing of Was Hardeep Nijjar in Surrey on Sunday.

According to Global News CA, Nijjar was the president of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, a Sikh temple in Surrey. Nijjar was sitting in his car in the temple’s parking lot when he was shot to death on Sunday night while it was still light out.

Nijjar was a supporter of the Khalistan movement, a separatist movement dedicated to establishing an independent state for Sikhs called Khalistan in the Punjab region of India. According to The Wire, Nijjar was the third high-profile Khalistani activist to die abroad in the last 45 days.

Nijjar’s New York lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannun believes he was shot because of his support for the Khalistan movement, The Vancouver Sun reports. Pannun sent Postmedia, a news division of The Vancouver Sun, several threats that Nijjar received on social media.

According to CBC Canada, Pannun claims that Canadian intelligence officials also warned Nijjar that “mercenaries” were targeting him for assassination.

Global News CA, says that police believe that Nijjar was targeted but won’t offer theories as to why he was targeted. The Vancouver Sun reached out to Canadian Security Intelligence Service for comment and were told there were limits to what could be discussed.

“There are important limits to what I can publicly discuss given the need to protect sensitive activities, techniques, methods, and sources of intelligence,” CSIS spokesman Eric Balsam said in response to their request for comment.

The Vancouver Sun is also reporting that Nijjar allegedly had a dispute over the printing of the Sikh holy book with acquitted Air India bombing suspect Ripudaman Singh Malik. Nijjar told Postmedia that he had no conflict with Malik at the time of his death. Two men arrested and charged with murder for Malik’s death last year, CBC Canada reports.

Malik’s son Jaspreet filed a lawsuit against Nijjar in February to get back a special printing press that was handed over to the temple in August 2020. The lawsuit is still ongoing.

As authorities continue to search for a motive the Sikh community in Surrey is mourning the loss of a leader.

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