The killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June this year and its aftereffects have exposed how the country has for many years failed to act against extremist groups, despite being repeatedly provided evidence of their activities.
In the case of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, he, like many Sikhs who fled Punjab in the 80s and 90s, had claimed religious persecution as the reason for seeking asylum in countries like Canada, UK, and Germany.
How Hardeep Singh Nijjar reached Canada
The reason for Justin Trudeau’s unprecedented outrage was that a Canadian citizen was killed on Canadian soil by foreign agents.
But the nature of Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s Canadian citizenship and how he acquired it is, at best, dubious.
To start with, Hardeep Singh Nijjar went to Canada in 1997 using a fake passport in the name of one Ravi Sharma.
Why Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s asylum claim was rejected
After entering Canada illegally, Nijjar applied for asylum, claiming that he feared persecution in India because he belonged to “a particular social group”.
But this was turned down as his claims were identified as a ‘fabricated narrative’.
He then tried to get Canadian citizenship using a “marriage” agreement with a woman who sponsored his immigration.
But this also fell flat as the woman who had agreed to marry Singh had also arrived in Canada in 1997 on sponsorship by a different husband.
When did he get Canadian citizenship?
Nijjar reportedly appealed against the rejection in the courts, although he kept claiming himself to be a Canadian citizen.
It is still unclear how and when Nijjar got his Canadian citizenship.
In Canada, Nijjar worked as a plumber and a truck driver before gaining popularity among Khalistani separatists.
What Canada knew about Nijjar
What makes Canada’s position in the entire episode even worse is that for nearly a decade, authorities there knew that he was a wanted criminal in India.
Nijjar had over a dozen criminal cases of murder and other terrorist activities against him in India, and after Canadian authorities failed to act, New Delhi got an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) issued against him in November 2014.
All the Canadian authorities did was to put his name on a no-fly list in 2018.
He became the de facto chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force, a banned terror outfit, in 2015 after its founder, Jagtar Singh Tara, was arrested in Thailand and extradited to India.
The NIA, which prepared a dossier on him, said Nijjar entered into gurudwara politics in 2021 by forcefully becoming the president of the gurudwara in British Columbia province’s Surrey to protect himself from extradition.
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