Surrey man writes to Trudeau claiming political persecution by India

By KIM BOLAN

“Because of my campaign for Sikh rights, it’s my belief that I have become a target of an Indian government campaign to label my human rights campaign as terrorist activities,” his letter said.

Over the weekend, The Times of India quoted a Punjab police intelligence report claiming Nijjar is wanted in a 2007 cinema bombing, is now the leader of a group called the Khalistan Terror Force and is running training camps for militants near Mission, B.C.

The report said India would be requesting Nijjar’s extradition.

The Canadian government has not responded to the allegations in the report. Nijjar told The Sun Monday it was all “garbage.”

He also told The Sun he was too busy with his plumbing business to be involved in politics.

However, in his letter to Trudeau, he says he is a political activist who has travelled to Geneva, Washington and New York to protest against the Indian government and to ask the United Nations to hold a referendum on Punjab independence.“Mr. Prime Minister, I want to bring it to your attention that the Indian government’s campaign to label me a terrorist started when I actively participated in a campaign to collect signatures on a complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council,” the letter said.

“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.”

Nijjar also claims that his family living in and visiting his home state of Punjab have been harassed by police because of his actions.

He said his father and brother were detained last year while visiting India and given a warning for him to curb his “anti-India campaign.”

Interpol has issued a warrant for Nijjar’s arrest based on information received from the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation.

Nijjar says in his letter that India “has blatantly abused its governmental authority” to place his name on the Interpol list without any justification.

And he wants Trudeau to intervene.

“I urge your administration to dispel the Indian government’s fabricated, baseless, fictitious and politically-motivated allegations against me,” Nijjar said.

He’s being assisted by New York lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who flew to B.C. to meet the father of two.

Pannun told The Sun Wednesday that he intends to file a complaint with Interpol about the warrant being issued with no underlying evidence.

“We will seek information from them, what are the underlying charges … and how they got investigated and what Interpol did on their part to verify it. It’s their responsibility to look into it,” Pannun said.

He said a similar Interpol warrant against a Sikh separatist in Portugal was recently withdrawn after a challenge.

kbolan@postmedia.com

Surrey man accused of running ‘terror camp’ near Mission

A Surrey man is accused of running a “terror camp” near Mission that’s plotting attacks in the Punjab, according to an India news report.

By CHERYL CHAN

An article published Monday in the Times of India cited a report by Punjab intelligence identifying Hardeep Nijjar as the “operational head of (the) Khalistan Terror Force (KTF).” 

According to the report, Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, has lived in Surrey since 1995. 

He is wanted in India in connection with a blast at a cinema in Ludhiana in the Punjab province, where six people died in 2007. 

The report alleges Nijjar has been training at least four Sikh youths on how to use AK-47s for the purpose of carrying out attacks in India. 

The training took place “in a (rifle) range near Mission where they were made to fire for four hours daily,” said the report. 

One of the trainees, Mandeep Singh, was arrested two weeks ago, said the Times. Singh arrived in India in January from Canada and is accused of being involved in a terrorist plot. 

The report claims Singh was on a reconnaissance mission and that Nijjar was to arrange weapons from Pakistan.

The Times said India intelligence agencies have alerted Canadian authorities to the alleged camp, and have already submitted an application seeking Nijjar’s extradition.

Global Affairs Canada wasn’t available for comment late Sunday.

This isn’t the first time India authorities have requested Canada track Nijjar. In 2015, India police requested RCMP track his whereabouts after he was suspected of a plot to transport ammunition by paraglider over the Pakistan-India border. 

That plan was foiled after the arrest of Jagtar Tara, described as the former chief of the KTF.