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Canadian Police Arrest Members Of ‘Hit Squad’ Linked To Killing of Khalistani Terrorist Nijjar: Report

Canadian police have reportedly arrested members of an alleged hit squad linked to the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in the province of British Columbia in June last year.

Members of the hit squad are alleged to have played different roles as shooters, drivers and spotters on the day Nijjar was killed at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported quoting sources.

The men were reportedly arrested on Friday.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were not immediately available for comment. India is also yet to release any official statement on the matter.

The alleged hit squad members were identified by Canadian authorities some months ago and investigators have been keeping them under tight surveillance, CBC sources said.

Canadian police are reportedly also investigating possible links to three additional murders, including the shooting death of an 11-year-old boy in Edmonton.

Canada and India had a major diplomatic row after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in September 2023 that Canadian authorities were pursuing allegations linking Indian government agents to the fatal shooting of Nijjar, a Canadian citizen. New Delhi rejected Trudeau’s claim as “absurd.”

Canada had been pressing India to cooperate in its investigation. The U.S. later revealed it had foiled an assassination attempt against a Sikh separatist on its soil.

In an excerpt from a year-end interview with public broadcaster CBC, Trudeau said the US indictment appeared to have softened the Modi government’s stance toward Canada.

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“I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they can’t bluster their way through this and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before,” he said.

“There’s an understanding that maybe, maybe just churning out attacks against Canada isn’t going to make this problem go away.”

PM Modi also told the Financial Times that India was “deeply concerned about the activities of certain extremist groups based overseas”.

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  • He added that “these elements, under the guise of freedom of expression, have engaged in intimidation and incited violence”.

    (With inputs from agencies)

    Sanstuti Nath

    With around five years of experience on the desk as well as reporting, Sanstuti

    first published: May 03, 2024, 22:42 IST