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Canada says India behind killing of Sikh activist

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally accused India of playing a role in the killing of Sikh leader and activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

According to CBC Canada, many in the Sikh community believe the accusation represents a change in the conversation about the violence their community has faced.

Nijjar, the president of a Sikh temple called Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, was a strong supporter of the Khalistani movement, which seeks to create a homeland for Sikhs called Khalistan in the Punjab region of India.

The 45-year-old was born in Jalandhar district in India’s northern state of Punjab, The New York Times reports. He moved to Canada in the 1990s when the country began punishing members of the sikh movement.

Indian officials in New Delhi had labeled Nijjar a terrorist, Reuters reports. In statements they claimed that he was involved in “exhorting seditionary and insurrectionary imputations” and “attempting to create disharmony among different communities.”

On June 18, two masked men shot Nijjar to death while he was sitting in his car in the parking lot of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara. His death spark protests from the Sikh community.

According to CBC Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau said Monday that intelligence reports found credible information linking Indian government agents to the killing.

“Hearing what Justin Trudeau said … finally, like, it’s a sort of relief,” activist Harkirat Kaur told CBC Canada. “But that kind of turned into resentment.

“Resentment of the fact that this has been going on for 40-plus years and it finally took for our leader to be killed for them to have some sort of acknowledgement.”

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