September 26, 2023

Canadian Sikh Killed

“Canada said [last] Monday that it was ‘actively pursuing credible allegations’ linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June… Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population. Nijjar supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistani state and was designated by India as a ‘terrorist’ in July 2020.” Reuters

“India on Thursday suspended new visas for Canadians and asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in the country, sharply escalating a spat triggered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's accusations linking New Delhi to a Sikh separatist's murder. India was willing to look into specific information in connection with the accusations, its foreign ministry said, adding that Canada has not shared anything so far.” Reuters

Both sides condemn the killing:

“The Indian government accused Nijjar of plotting attacks on its soil, but he denied these claims and was never extradited. The Sikh insurgency came to an end more than two decades ago. If India is behind Nijjar’s killing, its actions don’t reflect fears of Sikh secession so much as India’s transformation into an illiberal state where the government has elevated one religion—Hinduism—at the expense of all others, and where policy makers tolerate little dissent…

“Trudeau’s claim, if true, should remind the United States that India is not, in fact, a natural friend. The Indian government is trying to create not a great, peaceful democracy but an avowedly Hindu power that dominates South Asia. It may work with America to constrain China, but that is because challenging Beijing is in India’s interests, not because India supports the West.”

Daniel Block, The Atlantic

“What the Indian government is alleged to have done is uncomfortably similar to the Saudi government’s execution and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist and U.S. green-card holder Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Abusing activists, dissidents, and political prisoners on your own soil is bad enough. But running operations to kill them in somebody else’s country is meant to send a message that dissidents aren’t safe anywhere…

“Diplomacy and foreign policy require us to prioritize what issues matter to us the most. Perhaps keeping India aligned with the U.S. against China is our most important priority. But turning a blind eye to Indian government agents’ just straight up murdering critics on the soil of an ally is a tough pill to swallow.”

Jim Geraghty, National Review

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