Khalistan Supporter Wanted in India Released by Canadian Police After Brief Detention

Hardeep Singh Nijjar's name was on the list of wanted men given by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his India trip.


Canadian law authorities took into custody Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in mid-April and released him 24 hours later, the Hindustan Times reported. No charges were filed against him.

Nijjar was one of the people named on the list of wanted men that was given by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his India trip in February this year. The Indian government has held Nijjar responsible for multiple targeted killings, including that of Rulda Singh, who was then heading the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 2009.

Nijjar was detained by the Surrey unit of the Royal Canadian Mounter Police (RCMP) in the afternoon of April 13, the publication reported citing sources. He was released the next day. The RCMP spokesperson refused to comment on the matter, the report added.

No other person on the list of wanted persons that Singh gave to Trudeau during their meeting in February has apparently been taken in for questioning by Canadian authorities so far, the report said. The other persons named on the list are Gurjeet Singh Cheema, Gurpreet Singh, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Gurjinder Singh Pannu and Malkeet Singh alias Fauji Sanjeev Verma, according to an earlier Times of India report.

As per Indian authorities, Nijjar is linked to the five-member Khalistan Tiger Force. Four criminal cases for murder were registered against him at Patiala, Noorpur Bedi and Ludhiana, under the UAPA and Arms Act, between 2009 and 2016. The Indian authorities told the Canadian government that Nijjar was conducting weapons training at a range in the locality of Mission City.

Nijjar, who has been closely associated with Canada-based rights advocacy group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), and organized a kirtan in Surrey last week, participated in the organization’s ‘Punjab Referendum 2020’ conference in a suburb of Toronto on March 31, the Hindustan Times report said.

In a statement emailed to the publication, Nijjar said: “I am being targeted and framed in false criminal cases by Indian authorities for my relentless campaign against the genocidal violence against the Sikhs and continuous support for Referendum 2020 to liberate Punjab and create separate Sikh country Khalistan.”

Gurpatwant Pannun, a legal adviser from SFJ representing Nijjar, when asked by the publication if this was a possible action based on a Red Corner Notice from Interpol, issued at the behest of Indian government, said, “He was never charged with any crime, and released unconditionally, at least as of right now.”

He is also represented by Vancouver-based law firm Peck and Company. The firm’s founder, Richard Peck, had represented Ajaib Singh Bagri, one of the accused in Air India flight 182 bombing in 1985. Bagri was acquitted of all charges in 2005.

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