Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canada-based Sikh man accused of running a terror camp in Canada’s Mission city, has written to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau urging him to dispel Indian government’s allegations against him. He says the allegations read like a bad plot for a Bollywood movie and claims that he is being targeted for his campaign for rights of the Sikhs and human rights violations, also in India.He, however, does not hide his political ideology. Nijjar’s June 1 letter states, “I am a Sikh nationalist who believes in and supports Sikhs’ right to self-determination and independence of Indian occupied Punjab through a future referendum.” He adds, “My Sikh nationalist activities are peaceful, democratic and protected under the Canadian charter of Rights and Freedom.”He goes on to say, “In an earlier attempt to label me as a ‘terrorist’, the Indian government accused me of transporting ammunition through ‘paragliding’ which is absolutely preposterous on the face and is more like a bad Bollywood movie plot.”The report against Nijjar has been prepared by Punjab intelligence sleuths. It states that Nijjar has become the operational head of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and has formed a terror module comprising Sikh youths. Referring to the January 2 Pathankot Air Force base attack, the cops have said that Nijjar “was to arrange weapons from Pakistan but due to high alert on the border in the wake of Pathankot incident, it could not materialise”.
Apart from the report, the CBI had in 2014 issued a warrant against Nijjar on charges of attempting to cause an explosion, making or keeping explosives with an intent to endanger life or property, and making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances. The warrant is also posted on Interpol’s site of suspects wanted in various jurisdictions around the world. The red corner notice has been pending against him since 2014.A baptised Sikh, he has been living in Surrey since 1995 on a Canadian passport. He is wanted in the 2007 Shingaar cinema blast in Ludhiana in which six people were killed. “Because of my campaign for Sikh rights, it’s my belief that I have become a target of an Indian government media campaign to label my human rights campaign as “terrorist activities”,” the letter further states.The intelligence sleuths have however claimed that recently arrested Mandeep Singh had made disclosures about Nijjar’s alleged role.”In April 2015, Indian police illegally detained my father who is a resident of Canada and my brother who is a citizen of UK. During the detention they were warned by the police that ‘if Nijjar did not stop his anti-India campaign, we will implicate him in criminal cases and will confiscate all the landed property of your family in India’,” the letter to Canadian PM has said.”Campaign to label me as a terrorist started when I actively participated in a campaign to collect signatures on a complaint to the UN’s Human Rights Council for investigation and recognition of 1984 of anti-Sikh violence as Genocide. Between 2012 and 2013, I collected more than 20,000 signatures in BC by setting up week-long camps at Sikh gurdwaras across the province,” he has further claimed while mentioning his participation in other such activities.Rights group Sikhs For Justice legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has said the group would defend Nijjar against any attempt to extradite him to India.
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