Khalistani Extremism in Canada
What we know (and what we don't)
Over the last few weeks, following the accusations by the Prime Minister that India was behind the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Khalistani extremism in Canada, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts here.
Let’s start with a bit of background. The Khalistan movement is an independence movement by some Sikhs seeking to establish a Sikh nation in the Indian state of Punjab and other Punjabi-speaking areas of northern India. Nijjar was a well-known activist for Khalistan, and the Indian government believes that Nijjar was the head of the Khalistan Tiger Force, a banned group in India (but not a listed terrorist entity in Canada). India also claims that Nijjar fundraised for terrorism in India. If you want some background on who Nijjar was, this article by Stewart Bell is the most authoritative article I’ve found.
The problem with Indian intelligence
It's very likely that India has been sharing intelligence with Canada on Khalistani activists / extremists operating in Canada for some time. There has been an intelligence sharing agreement with India since 20021 and in fiscal year 2009-2010, Canada signed an MOU with India to share financial intelligence.2 And we know that the Government of India sought Nijjar’s extradition, but that Canada did not comply. (Canada and India have had an extradition agreement for some time, but it does exclude extradition in cases where the defendant might face capital punishment, among other exclusions.) In the case of Nijjar, while we don’t know the full extent of his activities and exactly who he supported, there is nothing he could have done that would justify India’s extrajudicial killing in Canada.