New Delhi, Aug 13, 2022- The Punjab police have sought the extradition of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, chief of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) settled in Canada, who is wanted in cases related to acts of reviving militancy in the state.
A senior officer disclosed that the demand seeking Nijjar’s extradition is in pursuance of a lookout circular (LOC) issued on January 23, 2015, and a red corner notice issued on March 14, 2016, based where he is accused of militant activities. Nijjar was declared a designated terrorist along with 8 others by India on July 1, 2020. A reward of Rs 10 lakh was declared on his head in July this year.
A dossier prepared by the Punjab police reveals that Nijjar was a close associate of Jagtar Singh Tara earlier based in Pakistan in 2012. He visited Pakistan in April 2012 to meet Tara.
Nijjar raised a KTF module in Punjab by motivating Parminder Kala, a resident of Mughal Majri in Ropar district for targeting Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala and Sanjeev Ghanouli, a Shiv Sena leader, for their alleged anti-panthic activities.
In December 2015, Nijjar reportedly organised an arms training camp in Mission Hills, BC, Canada wherein Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal originally a resident of Chak Kalan in the Ludhiana district, and 3 other youths were imparted training to use AK-47 assault rifles, sniper rifles, and pistols. Mandeep was sent to Punjab in January 2016 to carry out targeted killings but he was arrested in June before he could execute the plan.
This correspondent in a WhatsApp message to Nijjar sought to know his side of the story but he did not reply. He also declined a WhatsApp call.
In an interview with Vancouver-based journalist Kuldeep Mann aired last week by TV Punjab, Nijjar had denied allegations about his involvement in terrorist activities. “I have been in Canada for over 30 years. I am a sewadar of a gurdwara in Vancouver. I am being wrongly targeted,” he claimed.
According to the police dossier, in 2020, Nijjar in association with gangster Arshdeep Singh Dala of Moga (now hiding in Canada) raised a four-member KTF module in Punjab. The module succeeded in killing Manohar Lal, a Dera Sacha Sauda follower in Bhagta Baika in Bathinda district on November 20, 2020. Besides, they killed Shakti Singh, a resident of village Dagu Romana in Faridkot district, in July 2021, and Tejinder Pinka, owner of Sunshine Cloth Store in Moga on July 14, 2021. Three module members were arrested with arms which included three .32 bore pistols and one .315 bore pistol with 53 cartridges.
In September 2021, Nijjar sent a weapon consignment comprising 2 tiffin bombs, 2 hand grenades, and 3 pistols of .9 mm from across the border. But the Punjab police busted the three-member module comprising Kanwarpal Singh, Kulwinder Singh, and Kamalpreet Singh, all residents of Moga who were to retrieve the weapons.
Another 3-member module working for Nijjar was busted by the Haryana police on February 19, 2022, who were involved in contract killings in Punjab. They had killed sarpanch Avtar Singh of village Udhampur in Ropar district. An AK-47 rifle with 49 cartridges and 3 US-made pistols were recovered from them.
In a separate dossier prepared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Nijjar’s anti-India activities in Canada have been highlighted. He is suspected to be behind the killing of a Sikh leader Ripudaman Singh Mallik in Surrey on July 14, this year.
Mallik while talking to journalist Sameer Kaushal of Sher-E-Punjab radio, Vancouver, a few days before his murder termed Nijjar and his accomplice, Moninder Boyle, as being anti-Akal Takht sahib. “The control of Gurdwaras in Canada has now gone into the hands of those who are undisciplined and do not care for Sikh Maryada. They recognised Jagtar Hawara, convicted for the assassination of the then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995 as the Jathedar of Akal Takht,” he lamented.
The NIA dossier maintains that to reach the truth of Ripudaman’s murder, the Canadian police need to thoroughly interrogate Nijjar and his accomplices. The arrest of two suspects, Tanner Fox, 21, and Jose Lopez, 23, does not explain the motive behind the crime. (Agency)