A man accused in a media report of training Sikh terrorists at a training camp in British Columbia has written to the prime minister asking for help to clear his name. The Times of India reports that Indian intelligence agencies have alerted the Liberal government that pro-Khalistan extremists near Mission, B.C., plan to carry out strikes in Punjab.
Hardeep Nijjar, of Surrey, confirmed to The Canadian Press that he sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which asks the federal government to dispel “fabricated, baseless, fictitious and politically motivated” allegations against him.
“I have never believed in, supported or been involved with any violent activity,” he wrote.
‘A bad Bollywood movie plot’
The letter said Nijjar’s work campaigning against anti-Sikh violence in Punjab has made him a target of the Indian government and led to authorities placing his name on Interpol’s wanted list.
He said the Indian government has previously accused him of transporting ammunition through paragliding, an allegation that he described as “absolutely preposterous” and “more like a bad Bollywood movie plot.”
The letter said that Nijjar is a Canadian citizen who operates a small plumbing business to support his wife, two children and parents, and that he has spent years collecting signatures for a complaint the UN Human Rights Council on anti-Sikh violence.
“Prime Minister Trudeau, my Sikh nationalist activities are peaceful, democratic and protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the letter said.
When reached by The Canadian Press, Nijjar declined to comment on the allegations made against him in Indian media, referring all questions to his lawyer in New York.
Falsely accused, says lawyer
His lawyer could not be reached but in a statement released by Sikhs for Justice his legal counsel said Nijjar has been falsely accused.
“Indian authorities often label Sikh activists as terrorists, who are simply trying to raise awareness in Canada about human rights violations being committed against Sikhs in the Punjab,” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said in the statement.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office declined comment on the letter, saying the office had not yet had time to review it.
Canadian authorities have remained tight-lipped about the reported allegations.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Monday that he doesn’t comment on specific security allegations, and if there is information that needs to be acted on, Canadian police and security agencies respond.
B.C. RCMP spokesman Rob Vermeulen said Monday that the Mounties are aware of the media report, but would not comment on specific allegations, threats or ongoing investigations.