How masked gunmen killed Hardeep Singh Nanjar?

Hardeep Singh Nanjar was in a hurry to leave the temple. It was Father’s Day, and his wife and two sons were waiting for him.

On the way out At Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, the Sikh temple in Nanjar in Surrey, British Columbia, he called his 21-year-old son. Family Baked pizza, Balraj Singh Nanjar told his father, and prepared sweet pudding saviyan, his favorite dessert.

“Get dinner ready,” Najjar told his son. “I’m coming home.”

But three men were waiting outside the gurdwara. They had masks. They were armed.

Less than 10 minutes later, the phone at Najar’s home rang again.

“Did you hear that?” A family friend asked the son. “Something has happened in the Gurdwara. Your father was shot.”

No arrests have been made in the June 18 brazen killing of temple president Najjar, 45. But From the beginning, his family and friends from the local Sikh community believed who was behind the brazen attack: the Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Najjar was an outspoken leader of the separatist Khalistan movement, which aimed to establish an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India. This movement is illegal in India.

On Monday, exactly three months after Nager’s murder, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons that investigators were following up. “Credible Allegations” Linking Najjar’s Killing to Agents The Indian Government

India’s foreign ministry rejected the claim, saying it was an attempt to divert attention from the real issue: Canada harboring Indian dissidents whom New Delhi considers terrorists. Since then, each country has expelled the other’s top diplomat.

Najar, a Canadian citizen who was born in India, ran a plumbing business in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver. But it was his leadership in Khalistan. The movement that drew the attention of the Indian security services.

In July 2022, India’s National Investigation Agency accused him of plotting to kill a Hindu priest in Punjab and labeled him a “fugitive terrorist”. His home address in Surrey was published and announced by India’s counter-terrorism agency NIA. A reward of 1 million rupees — or about $12,000 — was offered for information leading to his apprehension.

Najjar’s family and friends say he advocated a peaceful and democratic path. Homeland of Sikhs. Before his death, he was organizing a referendum among Sikhs to gauge support for Khalistan. Community members say more than 100,000 people turned up at the gurdwara this month to vote.

Trudeau says ‘credible allegations’ link India to killings in Canada

According to Balpreet Singh Boparai, legal adviser to the World Sikh Organization of Canada, Canadian security agencies had been aware of threats to Najjar’s security for more than a year. Boparai said he has told Canadian law enforcement agencies about his fears for Najjar’s safety. As of the summer of 2022 and as recently as a few weeks before the man was killed.

“Clearly, not enough was done,” Boparai said. His organization called the killing a failure by Canadian authorities.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, asked by The Washington Post on Tuesday whether it had warned the Sikh leader of threats to his life or provided him with protection before his death, declined to answer. gave Eric Balsam, a spokesman for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said he could not discuss the matter publicly.

Indian anger is growing over Canada’s perceived support for separatist Sikhs.

Najjar’s lawyer, Gurpatwant Singh Pinan, said Najjar called him the day before his death to warn him of threats to his life by Canadian authorities. Officials did not provide details, Panon said.

And on the day of Niger’s death, Boparai spoke to members of his own gurdwara in Brampton, Ontario, about the recent spate of assassinations of prominent Sikh leaders.

“Looks like Hardeep Singh Najjar might be next on the hit list,” Boparai recalled someone saying. is saying

India expels Canadian diplomat amid controversy over alleged murder

On June 18, Najar woke up early to spend his Sunday, as usual, in worship at his gurdwara.

His sons, 20 and 21, made sure they were awake before they left, so they could give him his Father’s Day gift: a new A pair of jeans.

According to Balraj, Najjar joked, “You know I’m on a diet”. “These probably won’t fit me anymore.”

Balraj promised.

“Are you sure you have the money?” Najjar asked mockingly at his eldest son As he often did.

At the gurudwara, he gave his weekly address to the community, often speaking about threats against Sikhs around the world. He urged the community to spread their message not through violence but through votes. “We don’t need to hold AK-47s,” he said in Punjabi. “We just need to fill out a yes or no ballot.”

“We think we’re living free in Canada and America, but are we?” he asked in the address, which was videoed by the gurudwara. “Do we think about those who were killed, about our martyrs? We need to demand our freedom together.

Just before 8:30 p.m., he left the gurdwara with a friend, Gurmeet Singh Toor, a 52-year-old truck driver. They discussed the upcoming programs at the Gurdwara, bid each other farewell and headed for their vehicles.

Two minutes later, Torey said, he heard gunshots.

He got out of his car and headed towards Najjar’s pickup about 300 yards away. On the driver’s side The window broke. Multiple bullet holes pierced the door. And Nijar was dropped on his right side, bleeding from the left arm, chest and head.

As the temple members assembled. Surrounding the truck, crying and shouting, two masked men set off on foot. Taor and a few others followed them, but it was too late. They approached a waiting car, later described by police as a 2008 Toyota Camry, which drove them away.

Police later identified the two as men with heavy suits wearing face coverings. Police said the men and a third suspect, the driver of the getaway car, had been waiting in the area for at least an hour before the killings. No arrests were made.

As Balraj ran with his mother and brother. At the gurdwara, he tried to call his father. There was no answer.

They arrived to find a crowd of hundreds surrounding the area cordoned off with police tape. Then Balraj saw his father’s truck.

Family friends tried to hug and comfort the young man, but he wanted none of it at the time. He was focused on taking care of his mother and younger brother.

This word quickly spread among the local Sikh community. Jay Singh, a lawyer and gurudwara member, was out with his family for Father’s Day dinner when he got the news. They left the restaurant and walked towards the gurdwara. They found mourners crying, waving Raised slogans of “Long Live Khalistan”.

What is the Khalistan separatist movement behind the India-Canada split?

“We knew right away that it was going to be the Indian government,” Jai Singh said.

Najjar’s activism went beyond Sikh separatism, his son said. He encouraged fellow Sikhs to speak out about injustices against other minority groups. He met local people and joined rallies for Muslims. Balraj said.

When Afghan Sikhs arrived in Canada, they donated blankets and food. When the country was ravaged by forest fires, he sent first aid kits. When nearby communities were flooded, he helped organize a helicopter to deliver emergency aid.

In the months after Najjar’s death, his son was reluctant to speak publicly. He felt that the Indian government was behind the murder, but refrained from making accusations publicly. He expressed hope that Canadian authorities would find enough evidence to bring the charges to light.

He said that the truth will come out by itself.

On Monday night, after Trudeau’s announcement, Balraj stood before reporters outside his father’s house. Gurdwara will speak publicly for the first time.

Who was Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nanjar killed in Canada?

Amanda Colletta and Mahim Javed contributed to this report.

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