Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Khalistani separatist that Canada’s PM Trudeau says India may have got killed

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a known name in the secessionist circles advocating for a separate state for Sikhs, Khalistan, in India. Hailing from Jalandhar in the Indian state of Punjab, Nijjar migrated to Canada in 1995, subsequently becoming deeply involved in radical Sikh separatist movements. His encounters with Canadian authorities sometimes made stirrers, most notably when he was put under surveillance in 2015 concerning allegations around his association with Khalistani extremist groups.

Nijjar was identified as a prime member of Khalistan Tiger Force and considered to be an advocate for an independent state for Sikhs. His aim was a free Khalistan, where the Sikhs who felt marginalized and persecuted in modern India would supposedly be free. On Canada’s side, Nijjar was an organizer of the geopolitically sensitive annual April parade in Surrey, which often flew the flag of Khalistan.

His death, as suggested by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing, was termed as “a potential killing” of a Canadian citizen by India. Prompted by these claims, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs sought evidence. The matter grew tense as this alleged act was violating international norms and Canada’s sovereignty.

However, it is vital to mention that Nijjar was on India’s most-wanted list and had various terrorism-related charges against him. For India, Nijjar was more than a Khalistan supporter; he was accused of planning and executing violent acts to further the cause of Khalistan.

Overall, the case of Hardeep Singh Nijjar exemplifies the multi-faceted, often complex relationship between national security and individual rights interwoven with international politics. Though seen as a symbol of separatism by some, he is viewed by many others as an individual involved in acts detrimental to public safety. His relevance in the context of India-Canada relations showcases the resonance of historical grievances and the use of extremist ideologies in achieving political goals, thus warranting a balanced examination.

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