JALANDHAR: Canadian parliament honoured pro-Khalistan separatist and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar with a moment’s silence on his first death anniversary Tuesday, reigniting the row triggered by PM Justin Trudeau last year when he insinuated that Indian agents masterminded the Punjab-born immigrant’s killing.
The Indian consulate general in Vancouver responded almost immediately with a reminder of the country’s fight against terror and an open invitation to the diaspora to “a show of solidarity against terrorism” at a memorial service this weekend for the 329 victims of the 1985 Kanishka bombing.Nijjar was killed outside the parking lot of a gurdwara in Canada‘s Surrey on June 18 last year. He was the president of the gurdwara management committee.
Referring to the June 23, 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 by pro-Khalistan terrorists operating out of Canada as “one of the most heinous terror-related air disasters in the history of civil aviation”, the consulate general posted, “A memorial service is scheduled at 1830 hrs on June 23, 2024 at the Air India Memorial at Stanley Park’s Ceperley Playground area.”
“Following discussions among representatives of all parties in the House, I understand there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence in the memory of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, assassinated in Surrey, British Columbia, one year ago today,” speaker Greg Fergus of the Canadian House of Commons said while moving the motion seeking to stand in honour of a man who was wanted in India for various acts of terrorism.
Hours later, the Indian consulate general wrote on its official X handle @cgivancouver that “India stands at the forefront of countering the menace of terrorism and works closely with all nations to tackle this global threat”.
Nijjar was killed outside the parking lot of a gurdwara in Canada’s Surrey on June 18 last year. He was the president of the gurdwara management committee. Four people of Punjabi origin were arrested over the last few weeks for their alleged involvement in the murder.
In the first week of May, Canadian commissioner Marie-Josee Hogue said in her initial report on “public inquiry into foreign interference in federal electoral processes and democratic institutions” that “Indian officials, including Canada-based proxies, engaged in a range of activities that sought to influence Canadian communities and politicians”. Hogue also claimed that India directed “foreign interference activities” linked to the 2019 and 2021 general elections.
A week later, Canadian parliament unanimously passed the “M-112” motion moved by Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, asking the Trudeau govt to immediately review its measures that hold to account any person or agents of a foreign state indulging in political interference, violence or related activities.
The resolution mentions “credible allegations of a link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar”.
“This motion ensures that Canadians are protected from acts of political interference, violence, or intimidation from any person or agents of a foreign state,” Dhaliwal posted on X later. A few MPs weren’t part of voting on the motion.
In Punjab, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh Tuesday hailed Nijjar as a “martyr” at an event in Amritsar to mark his first death anniversary. The function organised by the radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa was also attended by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Harjinder Singh Dhami.