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SALDEF Condemns Indian Government’s Reported Involvement in Murder of Sikh Activist in Canada

September 21, 2023 | By

Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2023): Today, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) condemned the Indian government’s reported involvement in the murder of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar [File Photo]

“The Indian government’s reported involvement in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil would be a flagrant violation of international law, a direct attack on foundational values of free expression and free speech, and a dramatic escalation in attempts to silence Sikh voices around the globe ,” said SALDEF Executive Director Kiran Kaur Gill. “We urge the Canadian government to take all necessary steps to bring the perpetrators to justice and hold the Indian government accountable for its actions.”

“Nijjar was a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan. He was gunned down outside a Sikh gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18, 2023”, reads statement by SALDEF.

On September 18, 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that Canadian security agencies were investigating credible allegations of a potential link between Indian government agents and Nijjar’s murder.

“The Indian government has a long and documented history of targeting Sikh activists, both in India and abroad,” said Kiran Kaur Gill. “This latest incident is a reminder that the Indian government is willing to go to any lengths to silence its critics.”

Earlier this year, SALDEF published a policy recommendations report outlining how the Indian state incites Sikh censorship across social media and online platforms. The murder of Nijjar is yet another example of the Indian state’s encroachment on the Sikh diaspora’s free speech and right to live a life of dignity and safety.

SALDEF has called on the Canadian government to:

  • Conduct a full and independent investigation into Nijjar’s murder and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
  • Hold the Indian government accountable for its role in Nijjar’s murder.
  • Take steps to protect the Sikh community in Canada from further persecution.

SALDEF has also called upon the United States government to:

  • Condemn and investigate the Indian government’s involvement in Nijjar’s murder.0
  • Urge the Indian government to cease its persecution of Sikh and minority activists.
  • Work with the Canadian government to hold the perpetrators of Nijjar’s murder accountable.
  • Reassure the Sikh American and other Indian minority communities that their rights of free expression and safety will be protected.

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