The World Sikh Organization of Canada has called for “immediate protection” for Canadian Sikhs who “face a threat from India and its agents” after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed there is “credible” intelligence linking Indian government agents to the June 18 fatal shooting of Surrey Sikh temple president Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45.
The Guru Nanak Gurdwara president, an ardent supporter of securing an independent Sikh nation in India called Khalistan, was killed in the parking lot of the temple, located in the 7000-block of Scott Road. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has yet to publicly identify a suspect or reply to the Now-Leader’s request for comment on Trudeau’s revelation.
WSO President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said Monday its significance “cannot be understated for Sikhs.
“Today, the Prime Minister of Canada has publicly said what Sikhs in Canada have known for decades – India actively targets Sikhs in Canada. It should now be clear to all Canadians that the Government of India is a terrorist state that has brazenly engaged in extrajudicial killings not only on its own soil, but also on Canadian soil.”
Sidhu demanded that “India cannot be allowed to disregard the rule of law and the sovereignty of foreign states. The killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and other Sikh activists were terrorist acts that must be condemned by the international community. Those responsible for these killings must be immediately brought to justice. India should honour its international obligations and cooperate with the Government of Canada in investigating these matters.”
Jinny Sims, NDP MLA for Surrey-Panorama, said any kind of interference by an “outside body on our sovereign country is unacceptable.
“I’m against murder or killings of any kind, I’m against violence and people getting shot. People need to learn to start using words,” she said. “What I can tell you is we will have to let the feds and the RCMP do their job but I can tell you one thing, it doesn’t matter which country it is, it is totally unacceptable.”
Sukh Dhaliwal, Liberal MP for Surrey-Newton, said Canada is a “rule of law” country and protecting its citizens and defending its sovereignty is of paramount importance. “We’ve got to make sure that we protect that.”
Asked what kind of stick Canada has if Indian government agents were indeed involved in Nijjar’s murder, Dhaliwal said Trudeau has asked the Indian government to “do every effort to cooperate with Canadian agencies.”
“India might be a major power but when it comes to the protection of Canadian citizens we cannot leave any stone unturned. We will do everything possible to protect the Canadians and our sovereignty and that’s what we will continue to do.”
“I know the community will be feeling very angry and frightened right now,” Dhaliwal added. “I think its good to make an appeal that we all remain calm and steadfast in our commitment and make sure that the rule of law brings the justice out, and that’s all I would like to say.”
Premier David Eby said he too received a briefing from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) on the allegations.
“I am deeply disturbed and angered by this information. Canadians across the country must be safe from the interference of foreign governments, including being targeted for threats or physical harm, including murder,” Eby said. “Our democracy depends on it.”
He said in light of the allegations his provincial government will “enhance protection” for British Columbians “against the violence or threats of state actors.
“I call, yet again, on the federal government to share all relevant information related to any known ongoing foreign interference and transnational organized crime threats with our provincial authorities and our government, so we may act in co-ordination and protect those at risk.”
As the investigation continues, he added, he asks “those who are rightly angry to support justice and accountability through our formal legal systems. It is what makes us strong and is what distinguishes us from those who would act illegally to advance their own ends through threats, assassinations and attacks.
“We will win and there will be justice, because it must be so to protect what is best about the province we love,” Eby said.
The City of Surrey also issued a statement on Mayor Brenda Locke’s behalf.
“There is an ongoing investigation currently being conducted and I will monitor this very serious incident that has impacted our city and our country,” she said. “I am confident that law enforcement agencies will ensure that the integrity of Canadian democracy and the safety of our citizens are protected. I hope that this investigation provides Mr. Nijjar’s family with the closure I am sure they seek.”