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27 Sep, 2023 11:27

FBI told prominent Sikhs they were in danger – media

The Guardian claims the US agency gave several community leaders a heads-up after the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada
FBI told prominent Sikhs they were in danger – media

The FBI warned at least three prominent figures in the US Sikh community that their lives may be in danger, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.

One of the activists claimed the authorities advised him against traveling due to a threat presumably coming from the Indian government, according to the outlet.

Canada recently alleged that New Delhi could be behind the killing of a Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in the country this summer – a claim which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has strongly denied.

The Guardian quoted a coordinator for the American Sikh Caucus Committee, Pritpal Singh, who claimed that the FBI called him and two of his associates days after Nijjar was murdered. The activist told reporters that he saw “such intimidation of Americans” as a “form of transnational repression by the Indian government.

According to the newspaper, another Sikh journalist, Amarjit Singh, was urged by US officials to refrain from traveling and to remain safe, while reportedly suggesting that the threat was coming from the Indian government.

On Monday, the Washington Post, citing CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts, claimed that at least six individuals using two vehicles were involved in the killing of Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.

According to the newspaper, the separatist leader’s pickup truck was first blocked by a sedan in a parking lot, then two hooded men ran up to Nijjar’s vehicle and opened fire, discharging over 50 rounds. The assailants then dashed to a getaway car where three others awaited, some distance away from the crime scene, an eyewitness told the Washington Post. 

Nijjar was a leader in the Khalistan movement in Canada, which calls for the creation of an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India. The group, which has been outlawed by New Dehli, waged a guerilla campaign against the Indian government during the 1970s and 1980s, including the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, which killed all 329 people on board.

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the parliament that the country’s “security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Ottawa expelled a senior Indian diplomat amid the allegations.

New Delhi has called the claims “absurd,” accusing Canada of harboring “Khalistani terrorists and extremists” who “continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.