Punjab police seek extradition of Canadian-based Khalistani Hardeep Nijjar
New Delhi, August 13: Punjab Police have requested the extradition of Canadian-based Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who is wanted in connection with acts of revival of terrorism in the State.
A senior officer revealed that Nijjar’s extradition request followed a watch circular (LOC) issued on January 23, 2015 and a red corner notice issued on March 14, 2016, on the basis of which he is charged with terrorist activities. Nijjar was declared a designated terrorist along with 8 others by India on July 1, 2020. A reward of Rs 10 lakh was declared on his head in July this year.
A file prepared by the Punjab Police reveals that Nijjar was a close associate of Jagtar Singh Tara previously based in Pakistan in 2012. He traveled to Pakistan in April 2012 to meet Tara.
Nijjar created a KTF module in Punjab by motivating Parminder Kala, a resident of Mughal Majri in Ropar district, for targeting Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala and Sanjeev Ghanouli, a leader of Shiv Sena, for their alleged anti-panthic activities.
In December 2015, Nijjar allegedly organized a weapons training camp in Mission Hills, British Columbia, Canada, in which Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal was originally a resident of Chak Kalan in the Ludhiana district, and 3 others youths were trained to use AK-47 assault rifles, sniper rifles, and pistols. Mandeep was sent to Punjab in January 2016 to carry out targeted assassinations, but he was arrested in June before he could carry out the plan.
This correspondent in a WhatsApp message to Nijjar sought to know his side of the story but he did not respond. He also declined a WhatsApp call.
In an interview with Vancouver-based journalist Kuldeep Mann aired last week by TV Punjab, Nijjar had denied allegations about his involvement in terrorist activities. “I have been in Canada for over 30 years. I am a sewadar from a gurdwara in Vancouver. I am wrongly targeted,” he said.
According to the police file, in 2020, Nijjar in association with mobster Arshdeep Singh Dala from Moga (now hiding in Canada) raised a four member KTF pod in Punjab. The module managed to kill Manohar Lal, a follower of Dera Sacha Sauda at Bhagta Baika in Bathinda district on November 20, 2020. Further, they killed Shakti Singh, a resident of Dagu Romana village in Faridkot district, in July 2021, and Tejinder Pinka, owner of the Sunshine Cloth Store in Moga on July 14, 2021. Three pod members were arrested with weapons which included three .32 caliber pistols and one .315 caliber pistol with 53 rounds.
In September 2021, Nijjar sent a shipment of weapons including 2 tiffin bombs, 2 hand grenades and 3 0.9mm pistols across the border. But Punjab Police dismantled the three-member module comprising Kanwarpal Singh, Kulwinder Singh and Kamalpreet Singh, all residents of Moga who were to retrieve the weapons.
Another 3-member pod working for Nijjar was busted by Haryana Police on Feb 19, 2022 who were involved in contract killings in Punjab. They had killed the sarpanch Avtar Singh of Udhampur village in Ropar district. An AK-47 rifle with 49 rounds and 3 American-made pistols were recovered there.
In a separate filing prepared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Nijjar’s anti-Indian activities in Canada have come to light. He is suspected of being behind the murder of Sikh leader Ripudaman Singh Mallik in Surrey on July 14 this year.
Mallik, while speaking to journalist Sameer Kaushal of Sher-E-Punjab radio in Vancouver days before his murder, called Nijjar and his accomplice, Moninder Boyle, anti-Akal Takht sahib. “The control of the Gurdwaras in Canada is now in the hands of those who are unruly and careless about the Sikh Maryada. They have recognized Jagtar Hawara, convicted for the assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995 as the Jathedar of Akal. Takht,” he lamented.
The NIA filing argues that to uncover the truth about Ripudaman’s murder, Canadian police must thoroughly interview Nijjar and his accomplices. The arrest of two suspects, Tanner Fox, 21, and Jose Lopez, 23, does not explain the motive for the crime.
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