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LILLEY: U.S. release details on India’s assassination of a Canadian

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New details released on the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar support the claim that his assassination was orchestrated by the Indian government. The just released details don’t come through the Canadian government though, they come from the Americans.

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The U.S. Justice Department announced on Wednesday morning that they had arrested Nikhil Gupta, a 52 year-old Indian citizen for the attempted assassinaion of a New York City-based Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. Pannun is a vocal critic of India who recently made dire warnings about attacks on Air India.

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In that same news release the Justice Department implicates Gupta in Nijjar’s June 18, 2023 murder and ties both of them to the Indian government.

According to the Justice Department, both Nijjar’s assassination and the plot to kill Pannun were both directed by “an Indian government agency employee who has variously described himself as a ‘senior field officer’ with responsibilities in ‘security management’ and ‘intelligence.’”

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Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, left, speaks, Sept. 26, 2014 in New York.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, left, speaks, Sept. 26, 2014 in New York. Photo by Craig Ruttle, File /AP Photo

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made shocking allegations against India in the House of Commons in September but didn’t provide any evidence to back up his claims.

“Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said on Sept. 18.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Trudeau said at the time, and has maintained since, that he brought the issue to Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi when he was at the G20 summit. There was an obvious tension between the two leaders and India appeared to be isolating Trudeau.

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The allegations made the week after Trudeau returned from India definitely helped explain some of the tension.

India has consistently denied the allegations made by Trudeau and demanded he show them evidence. Whether evidence was provided in the back and forth between Canada and India isn’t known but now the Americans have blown this case and issue wide open.

It’s not clear why Trudeau couldn’t have released more information on what he knew prior to this release by the Americans.

Gupta, described as an international narcotics and arms dealer, has been in custody since June 30 after being arrested by authorities in the Czech Republic.

Even if Trudeau couldn’t have released the name, he could have said more to put increased pressure on India and our allies who had only given tepid statements of support.

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In their news release, the Justice Department draws a clear link between the plot to kill Pannun and Nijjar’s murder.

On or about June 19, the day after the Nijjar murder, Gupta told the UC (undercover agent) that Nijjar “was also the target” and “we have so many targets.” Gupta added that, in light of Nijjar’s murder, there was “now no need to wait” on killing the  victim (Pannun)”

Pannun and Nijjar both worked to advance the Sikh independence movement that calls for an independent country called Khalistan. India has labelled both Pannun and Nijjar as terrorists, the Modi government had also bitterly complained to the Trudeau government about the amount of Khalistani activity taking place in Canada.

None of that would excuse India being involved in an assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, or the attempted assassination of an American on American soil. Considering that both countries view India as a democratic ally, the Modi government must answer for these accusations.

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While Modi’s government was dismissive of Trudeau, it has been less dismissive of the Biden administration though not totally upfront.

“During the course of recent discussions on India-U.S. security cooperation, the U.S. side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said last week alluding to Gupta’s alleged international criminal career.

We have more information on what happened in the Nijjar killing, now we need to hear more from Trudeau. Ultimately though, it is India which must answer for this outrageous breach of Canadian sovereignty.

Article content


Article content

New details released on the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar support the claim that his assassination was orchestrated by the Indian government. The just released details don’t come through the Canadian government though, they come from the Americans.

Advertisement 2

Article content

The U.S. Justice Department announced on Wednesday morning that they had arrested Nikhil Gupta, a 52 year-old Indian citizen for the attempted assassinaion of a New York City-based Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. Pannun is a vocal critic of India who recently made dire warnings about attacks on Air India.

Article content

In that same news release the Justice Department implicates Gupta in Nijjar’s June 18, 2023 murder and ties both of them to the Indian government.

According to the Justice Department, both Nijjar’s assassination and the plot to kill Pannun were both directed by “an Indian government agency employee who has variously described himself as a ‘senior field officer’ with responsibilities in ‘security management’ and ‘intelligence.’”

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, left, speaks, Sept. 26, 2014 in New York.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, left, speaks, Sept. 26, 2014 in New York. Photo by Craig Ruttle, File /AP Photo

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made shocking allegations against India in the House of Commons in September but didn’t provide any evidence to back up his claims.

“Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said on Sept. 18.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Trudeau said at the time, and has maintained since, that he brought the issue to Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi when he was at the G20 summit. There was an obvious tension between the two leaders and India appeared to be isolating Trudeau.

Advertisement 4

Article content

The allegations made the week after Trudeau returned from India definitely helped explain some of the tension.

India has consistently denied the allegations made by Trudeau and demanded he show them evidence. Whether evidence was provided in the back and forth between Canada and India isn’t known but now the Americans have blown this case and issue wide open.

It’s not clear why Trudeau couldn’t have released more information on what he knew prior to this release by the Americans.

Gupta, described as an international narcotics and arms dealer, has been in custody since June 30 after being arrested by authorities in the Czech Republic.

Even if Trudeau couldn’t have released the name, he could have said more to put increased pressure on India and our allies who had only given tepid statements of support.

Advertisement 5

Article content

In their news release, the Justice Department draws a clear link between the plot to kill Pannun and Nijjar’s murder.

On or about June 19, the day after the Nijjar murder, Gupta told the UC (undercover agent) that Nijjar “was also the target” and “we have so many targets.” Gupta added that, in light of Nijjar’s murder, there was “now no need to wait” on killing the  victim (Pannun)”

Pannun and Nijjar both worked to advance the Sikh independence movement that calls for an independent country called Khalistan. India has labelled both Pannun and Nijjar as terrorists, the Modi government had also bitterly complained to the Trudeau government about the amount of Khalistani activity taking place in Canada.

None of that would excuse India being involved in an assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, or the attempted assassination of an American on American soil. Considering that both countries view India as a democratic ally, the Modi government must answer for these accusations.

Advertisement 6

Article content

While Modi’s government was dismissive of Trudeau, it has been less dismissive of the Biden administration though not totally upfront.

“During the course of recent discussions on India-U.S. security cooperation, the U.S. side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said last week alluding to Gupta’s alleged international criminal career.

We have more information on what happened in the Nijjar killing, now we need to hear more from Trudeau. Ultimately though, it is India which must answer for this outrageous breach of Canadian sovereignty.

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