Hundreds of Sikh Canadians gathered outside the Indian consulate in Toronto on Saturday to demand justice for the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh activist who was shot dead in Surrey, B.C. last month.
The protesters chanted slogans and held signs accusing the Indian government of orchestrating the assassination of Nijjar, who was the president of a Sikh temple and a vocal advocate for the creation of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan.
“We are here to expose the Indian state’s involvement in the killing of our leader, who was a peaceful and democratic voice for the rights of Sikhs in Canada and around the world,” said Baljit Singh, one of the organizers of the rally.
Singh said that Nijjar had received death threats from Indian agents and was on a hit list of Sikh separatists that India had shared with Canada in 2018. He also claimed that India had pressured Canada to deport Nijjar, who had been living in Canada since 1995 and had obtained Canadian citizenship in 2008.
The RCMP, which is investigating Nijjar’s murder, has not confirmed any motive or suspects in the case. The Indian consulate in Toronto did not respond to requests for comment.
The Sikh community in Canada demanded the issue of Khalistan, a proposed homeland for Sikhs that would carve out parts of India. Some Sikhs support the idea as a way to protect their religious and cultural identity, while others oppose it as a violent and divisive movement.
Nijjar was among those who supported Khalistan and had participated in several rallies and events to raise awareness and funds for the cause. He was also involved in humanitarian work and interfaith dialogue, according to his friends and family.
“He was a respected and loved leader who dedicated his life to serving the Sikh community and humanity,” said Gurpreet Kaur, Nijjar’s widow. “He did not deserve to die like this. We want the Canadian government to find his killers and bring them to justice.”