Amid the tension with Canada over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Indian agencies have claimed that the alleged Khalistani terrorist had misrepresented facts to gain Canadian citizenship and ran a terror ecosystem from the country he adopted.
A dossier on Nijjar prepared by Indian agencies says that he fled to Canada on a forged passport in 1996 after police started probing him for links with local goons in Punjab and association with the Khalistan Tiger Force. “Hardeep Singh Nijjar was an old associate of Gurdeep Singh @Deepa Heranwala, KCF (Khalistan Commando Force) militant who was involved in more than 200 killings in Punjab during late 1980s and early 1990s,” the dossier says. “Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a resident of village Bhar Singh Pura, Jalandhar, Punjab. Since his early days, he had connections with local goons. He was initiated to gangster life by Gurnek Singh@ Neka.”
Nijjar, as per Indian agencies, led a quiet life as a truck driver in his initial years in Canada. His request for asylum was repeatedly rejected and the final circumstances of him getting Canadian citizenship are also unclear.
Faked marriage for citizenship
Hardeep Singh Nijjar reached Canada in 1997 using a counterfeit passport under the alias Ravi Sharma, as per the dossier. He applied for asylum in Canada by claiming that he feared persecution in India because he belonged to “a particular social group, namely, individuals associated with Sikh militancy”. However, his asylum plea was rejected on the grounds of a fabricated narrative.
11 days after his claim was rejected, he entered into a “marriage” agreement with a lady who sponsored his immigration. This application was also rejected by immigration officials in Canada as the aforesaid woman had also arrived in Canada in 1997 on sponsorship by a different husband.
Nijjar appealed against the rejection in courts of Canada but he kept referring to himself as a Canadian citizen, the dossier says.
“Nijjar was later granted Canadian citizenship the circumstances of which are not clear,” Indian agencies have claimed.
According to officials, Nijjar escaped to Canada in 1996, fearing a threat to life from the police. He indulged in illegal activities like drug smuggling and extortion in Canada to arrange funding for terrorist activities. In 2012, Nijjar visited Pakistan and came in touch with Jagtar Singh Tara, BKI chief. Tara imparted arms and IED training to Nijjar in 2012, and in 2013, he sent US-based Harjot Singh Birring to Canada to impart training to Nijjar in operating hand-held GPS devices. Nijjar sent Rs 1 million Pakistani currency to Jagtar Singh Tara. In 2014, Nijjar planned to execute a terror attack on Dera Sacha Sauda Headquarters, Sirsa, Haryana on the directions of Tara. However, it did not materialise because Nijjar was denied an Indian visa.
Red Corner Notice
Interpol published a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Nijjar in November 2014. The request had been made by India, accusing Nijjar of masterminding more than a dozen cases of murder and terror.
“The details of cases were shared with Canadian authorities but no action was taken. Also, despite RCN, Canadian authorities did not take any action except putting him on a no-fly list,” the dossier says.
Indian agencies claimed that Nijjar forced his cousin Raghbir Singh Nijjar out and became the president of Surrey Gurdwara in 2021 so that he could escape the Red Corner Notice of Interpol. “He pretended to be involved in Canadian Gurdwara politics to escape the RCN,” officials said.
Terror ecosystem in Canada
Nijjar was a close associate of Jagtar Singh Tara from his Punjab days. The dossier accessed by CNN-News18 states that in the 1980s and 90s, Nijjar was associated with Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) militants and, later since 2012, he was closely linked with Jagtar Singh Tara, Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) chief.
In 2014, Nijjar allegedly planned to execute a terror attack on the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa, Haryana, but he could not reach India. So he directed his module to target former top cop Mohd Izhar Alam, Punjab-based Shiv Sena leader Nishant Sharma, and Baba Mann Singh Ji Pehowa Wale.
In 2015, Nijjar and Tara allegedly planned a terror attack in Punjab and “raised a gang in Canada which included Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal, Sarbjit Singh, Anupveer Singh and Darshan Singh@Fauji. They were imparted arms training in British Columbia, Canada in December 2015,” agency officials said.
After the deportation of Jagtar Singh Tara to India in 2015, Nijjar reportedly assumed the role of Operation Chief of KTF.
The probe by India revealed that Nijjar visited Pakistan in April 2021 in the garb of “Baisakhi jatha” but used the visit to get arms and explosive training for a fortnight.
“After returning to Canada, he started arranging funds for terror activities through his associates engaged in drugs and arms smuggling in Canada. Nijjar was also associated with Sikhs For Justice, a banned terrorist organisation, as the head of its Canada chapter. He had also organised violent anti-India protests in Canada and threatened Indian diplomats. He had also given a call to ban Indian embassy officials from participating in various programmes organised by local gurdwaras in Canada,” officials said.
Nijjar has been accused of association with Punjab-based gangster Arshdeep Singh Gill (@ Arsh Dala r/o Moga). Arsh Dala reportedly carried out terror acts in Punjab at Nijjar’s behest. “He tasked Arshdeep to carry out the double murder of Manohar Lal Arora and Jatinderbir Singh Arora, father-son duo, famous for their anti-Panthic activities in 2020. In the attack, Manohar Lal was shot dead at his residence in Bathinda on Nov 20, 2020 but his son escaped. Nijjar had sent money from Canada for their murder,” says the dossier.
In 2021, Nijjar allegedly tasked Arshdeep to murder the priest of Bhar Singh Pura village (Nijjar’s native place). “However, the priest survived,” the dossier says.