The murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Canadian Sikh activist, has led to a diplomatic rift between India and Canada.
The situation is escalating, with both countries expelling diplomats and making allegations against each other.
Nijjar left India for Canada, where he became a prominent figure in the Sikh community.
Canada has accused India of being involved in Nijjar’s death, a claim that has been strongly denied by the Indian government.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations, stating that India has no connection to Nijjar’s murder.
However, the Canadian government claims to have information linking India to the killing of the Sikh leader.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has rejected Trudeau’s allegations, calling them baseless.
The murder of Nijjar, who has been described as a Khalistani “terrorist,” has further complicated the diplomatic situation between the two countries.
The exact details of Nijjar’s murder and the involvement of India or any other party are not clear from the search results.
The situation remains tense, with both countries standing by their respective positions.
The Khalistan movement is a separatist movement that seeks to create a homeland for Sikhs by establishing an ethno-religious sovereign state called Khalistan in the Punjab region.
The proposed boundaries of Khalistan vary between different groups, with some suggesting the entirety of the Indian state of Punjab, while larger claims include Pakistani Punjab and other parts of North India such as Chandigarh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The roots of Khalistan lie in the British colonial policies of the late 1800s and early 1900s that sought to divide Sikhs and Hindus.
Sikhs were recruited into the British army in large numbers to use against Hindu rulers that rebelled against the British Raj.
Subsequently, after Indian independence in 1947, tensions between the state of Punjab and the central Indian government surfaced, leading to grievances amongst many Sikhs against the Indian government.
The Khalistan movement peaked in the 1980-90s, and the violent campaign included bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and selective killing and massacres of civilians movement resulted in nearly 22,000 deaths of Sikhs and Hindus alike, including approximately 12,000 civilians.
However, the movement failed to reach its objectives in India due to several reasons, including heavy police crackdown on the separatists under the leadership of Punjab Police chief KPS Gill, who credits the decline to change in the policies by adding provision.
The Khalistan movement is outlawed in India.
Khalistan is envisaged as a secular state, rejecting theocracy and espousing a liberal form of nationalism in which all communities may live as equals.
The status of the Sikhs as a legitimate third-party to the sovereignty of British India, along with Hindus and Muslims, and the role played by the Sikhs to end British colonialism are important factors that have contributed to the discourse on Khalistan.
Presence in Canada
The presence of the Khalistan movement in Canada goes back more than 40 years.
Many Sikhs sought refuge in Canada due to the violence and unrest in Punjab, and with generational ties to Canada, they continued to support the movement.
Cities like Brampton and Surrey have large Sikh populations and have become centers of the Khalistan movement in Canada.
The Canadian government has been criticized for its meek response to the Khalistani challenge, which has been a frequent target of Indian politicians as far back as 1982.
The demand for Khalistan has resurfaced many times over the years, fueling tensions between India and Canada.