The recent killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canada-based chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), has brought the contentious issue of extremism within Canada back into the spotlight. Nijjar, a known separatist and a disreputable figure within the Sikh community, was shot dead in a Surrey parking lot, exposing the darker side of his well-established influence within the community.
Nijjar, who commanded a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for his capture, had long been a divisive figure, presiding over the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Surrey. His control over this religious institution was marked by persistent allegations of embezzlement, with claims that funds from the shrine were being siphoned off to fuel terror activities in Punjab, India.
His involvement with Khalistan militancy dates back to his immigration to Canada in 1995. With a history marred by involvement in some of the most high-profile terror cases of the first decade of the millennium, such as the Shingar Cinema bomb blast and the assassination of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat President Rulda Singh, Nijjar has been a symbol of terror and separatism. Despite Interpol Red Corner Notices and temporary house arrest, he managed to evade full-fledged prosecution, a testament to the insidious influence he wielded.
Nijjar’s connections with internationally recognized terrorists like Jagtar Singh Tara were well-documented. He not only provided financial support to Tara but also learned the art of terror from him, acquiring skills in the fabrication of IEDs and handling of high-end guns. His efforts to shield Tara from deportation from Thailand in 2014 further solidify his standing as a facilitator of terror.
His active participation in training youths to handle deadly weapons, subsequently sending them to India to target police officials and popular Dera leaders, is a chilling example of his disregard for the sanctity of human life. Moreover, his involvement in multiple terror cases, such as the killing of Dera follower Manohar Lal Arora and the attempted killing of a village priest, paints a distressing picture of a man steeped in violence.
Nijjar’s recent ventures into organized financial crimes, in association with fellow Surrey-based Punjabi gangster Arshdeep Singh Gill, underscored his adaptability and the lengths he would go to finance his terror plans. This criminal collaboration reportedly made him a target of rival criminal gangs in the Surrey-Delta area, hinting at the treacherous underworld he was part of.
Nijjar’s death, while marking the end of a notorious figure, serves as a solemn reminder of the lurking dangers of extremism within the Canadian society. It underscores the necessity to remain vigilant against those who misuse religious institutions and community goodwill for their nefarious agendas. Canada must continue to uphold their values of peace, unity, and respect for all, rejecting the voices of division and violence that figures like Nijjar represent.