HomeLatest NewsModi’s hit squads operating in Canada challenge for national security: Pannun

Modi’s hit squads operating in Canada challenge for national security: Pannun

No proof of Pakistani funding for Khalistan referendum: Canadian expert

LONDON/VANCOUVER: The arrests of three Indian state agents by the Canadian police in link with the assassination of Canadian Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar confirm that the Narendra Modi government instructed RAW, its foreign intelligence agency, to order and organise the execution of Nijjar, the founder and leader of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has said.

The pro-Khalistan leader and personal friend and mentor of Nijjar said this after the Canadian police  charged three members of a RAW-sponsored hit team for their role in the killing of Nijjar, who was running Khalistan Referendum campaign in Canada on behalf of the SFJ, in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh gurdwara on the evening of June 18 last year in the city of Surrey, British Columbia.

According to court documents, Karanpreet Singh, 28, Kamalpreet Singh, 22 and Karan Brar, 22, have been charged with first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in Nijjar’s death.

Pannun, attorney at law (New York) and general counsel to SFJ, said: “Shaheed Nijar was my dear, personal friend and a close associate. He was head of Khalistan Referendum campaign in Canada and President of a Gurdwara in Surrey, BC. He was an upright individual, a peaceful man with demonstrated commitment to community service.”

Pannun, who was himself a target of the high profile Indian killing hit last year but survived after the plot was foiled by the US spies, blamed Indian Prime Minister Modi for the killing of Nijjar and for ordering a hit on him.

“In the light of Prime Minister Modi’s own statements, he is a murderer who recently proclaimed in a speech that ‘This New India comes into your home to kill you. My India does not send dossiers. We kill terrorists at their home turf’,” he added.

The SFJ founder said: “While today’s action by Canadian authorities, which led to the arrest of those directly involved in the killing, is a step forward, it only scratches the surface. High-ranking Indian diplomats such as Indian High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Verma and Consul General of India in Vancouver Manish provided logistical support and intelligence for the assassination. They must be charged. Reports, including one from the Washington Post, suggest that the RAW agents who assisted in carrying out the assassination are still actively positioned at the Indian Consulate in Vancouver.”

Pannun said that simply removing RAW agents from Indian missions does not suffice to counteract the Modi government’s spree of transnational terrorism.

The Sikh leader, who lives under security around the clock, said: “If we are to genuinely combat this wave of transnational violence, those Indian diplomats who oversee RAW’s espionage operations in Canada must be held accountable and face legal proceedings. Only through such decisive actions can we hope to dismantle the networks that enable and perpetuate such crimes against Canadians on Canadian soil.

“Canadian politicians of every stripe must stand with the Canadian Sikhs’ right to peacefully advocate for Khalistan without facing any violent retaliation from the Indian Government. Canada’s political leadership must stand on the right side of history in countering the Modi government’s transnational repression of pro-Khalistan Sikhs on Canadian soil, to ensure this sort of violence never happens again.”

“Nijjar laid his life working for the cause of Khalistan, Phase III of Khalistan Referendum voting on July 28, 2024 in Calgary, AB is dedicated to Shaheed Hardeep Singh Nijjar and other Canadians who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Khalistan,” the SFJ founder said.

The three India men arrested on Friday were living in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, and will be transported on Monday to British Columbia to face charges. The indictments allege the conspiracy was planned in both Surrey and Edmonton between May 1 and June 18.

Brian Edwards, RCMP assistant commissioner, called the killing “outrageous” and “reprehensible”, adding the investigators worked closely with members of the Sikh community.

“It had a profound impact on the residents of Surrey and, notwithstanding today the announcing of charges, those scars will remain in our community for a long time,” he said.

In September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, told parliament his government had “credible allegations” that India was behind the killing, calling the death of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”.

The fallout from Nijjar’s murder has chilled relations between Canada and India and exposed what officials say is a transnational campaign of violence by India, meant to target dissidents abroad.

Canada’s public safety minister said the arrests confirmed “that the RCMP take these matters extremely seriously”.

The men arrested are Indian citizens who entered Canada on student visas three to five years ago. None have permanent residency, said Supt Mandeep Mooker. More arrests in connection to the murder are possible, he said, adding that police were working with other units in “active investigations” across the country.

Six men and two vehicles were involved in Nijjar’s murder, according to previous statements from police.

“We remain dedicated to finding and arresting each one of these individuals,” said Mooker.

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