FBI agents alerted US-based Khalistani elements of life threat after terrorist Nijjar's killing in Canada
Washington: America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) met Khalistani elements in the US and alerted them that their lives may be at risk after the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, according to a report by The Intercept.
This report comes hours after media reports revealed that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s offensive allegations against India on the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar were prompted by shared intelligence from the US as part of Five Eyes, an intel alliance of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who led the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was gunned down by two unidentified assailants outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Colombia, Canada, on June 18. His killing stirred a diplomatic row between India and Canada with the latter's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday accusing New Delhi of involvement in the murder of ‘its citizen’.
CTV News Channel, Canada's 24-hour all-news network, reported quoting the US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen as saying that there was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” that helped Canada allege a “potential” link between the government of India and the murder of a Canadian citizen, Nijjar.
Cohen confirmed that Canada and its Five Eyes partners (the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand) shared intelligence about India's possible involvement in the murder.
In 2020, India designated Nijjar (45) as a terrorist. After his name cropped up in several terrorism cases, Nijjar escaped to Canada in 1996.
According to a detailed dossier prepared by Indian authorities, and accessed by NDTV, Nijjar allegedly ordered several killings and attacks in Punjab while taking refuge on Canadian soil.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for him. The probe agency had also filed a chargesheet against the Khalistani terrorist at its court in Mohali.
The Intercept reported that Pritpal Singh, a coordinator for the American Sikh Caucus Committee, said three Sikh Americans in California were visited by FBI agents after Nijjar’s killing.
“I was visited by two FBI special agents in late June who told me that they had received information that there was a threat against my life,” said Pritpal Singh. “They did not tell us specifically where the threat was coming from, but they said that I should be careful,” he was quoted as saying by The Intercept.
The two other Sikh Americans, who wished not to be named, also confirmed that FBI agents visited them to alert them against life threats.
Moninder Singh, a spokesperson for the British Columbia Gurdwaras Council who was among those who got warnings after Nijjar’s murder, also confirmed that Canadian intelligence officials had warned Khalistani elements.
“They told us that we were at imminent risk of assassination, but they would never say specifically that the threat was from Indian intelligence or give us enough information to tell us where it was coming from,” Moninder Singh added.
The agents of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had singled out Nijjar, warning him about a life threat.
Confirming the development, Sukhman Dhami, co-director of Ensaaf, a California-based NGO, told The Intercept that Khalistani elements were recently been visited by law enforcement and warned that they may be targets, said the report.