Thousands of people attended the funeral of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh leader and activist who was shot dead outside a gurdwara in Surrey last week. Nijjar was the president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara and a member of Sikhs for Justice, a group advocating for an independent Sikh state from India.
Nijjar was threatened by the Indian intelligence agencies agent according to his friends.
The funeral was held on Sunday at the same gurdwara where Nijjar was killed on June 18. His casket was placed in an open viewing for mourners to pay their respects. Many waved yellow “Khalistan” flags and called him a martyr for the Sikh cause.
Nijjar, 45, was a plumber who came to Canada as a refugee in 1997. He claimed he had been tortured by Indian police for his association with Sikh militants. He was also wanted by India, which accused him of being a leader of a banned terrorist group and plotting attacks in Punjab.
Nijjar denied the allegations and said he was peacefully campaigning for the rights of Sikhs. He was instrumental in organizing a referendum on Khalistan in Brampton, Ontario, in 2019.
His death has sparked fear and outrage in much of B.C.’s Sikh community, which believes he was targeted by Indian intelligence agents. Nijjar had told his friends that he had received threats from warned from Indian intelligence agents who warned him of a possible assassination plot.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is looking into the motive behind the killing. They are still searching for two “heavier-set” male suspects who fled the scene in a dark SUV.
The investigation is taking place amid concerns about foreign interference by India in Canada’s Sikh affairs.