Skip to content

Canada-India Row Over Sikh Leader’s Murder

The Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara for Delta-Surrey in BC, Canada. Photo: Leoboudv, via Wikimedia Commons

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused India of being behind the assassination of a Sikh-Canadian citizen on its soil – an unprecedented charge to make against a fellow G7 nation.

The Canadians claim to be investigating “credible allegations” that Indian agents were behind the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader. Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, was shot and killed in June outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia.

Trudeau said Tuesday Canada wasn’t trying to “provoke” India or “escalate” the situation but was “simply laying out the facts.” He said his government would “follow the evidence and make sure that the work is done to hold people to account.”

The Indian authorities accuse Nijjar of involvement in an alleged attack on a Hindu priest in India.

India has long accused Canada of not doing enough to tackle a rebel movement in the country supporting the creation of a separate Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, which would include parts of India’s Punjab state, where most Sikhs live.

The independence movement is banned in India but has been attracting growing support in Canada and other countries, including Britain, with large Sikh diaspora populations. Canada itself is home to more than 770,000 Sikhs – about two per cent of the country’s total population.