FBI Issues Warnings to Sikh Leaders in the US Amid Canada-India Diplomatic Tensions
Three Sikh community leaders in the United States have received warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about potential threats to their lives.
These warnings come in the wake of the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh leader and an advocate for the Khalistan movement in Canada. The Canadian government suspects the Indian government’s involvement in the assassination, a claim that India has vehemently denied.
Assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent figure in the Sikh community, was assassinated in a brutal attack involving at least six individuals who blocked Nijjar’s vehicle and fired over 50 rounds.
Nijjar’s political activities made him a contentious figure, with the Indian government labeling him a terrorist involved in a range of criminal activities from his base in Canada.
However, many within the Sikh community viewed him as a leader in the diaspora campaign advocating for Sikh independence from India.
Diplomatic Tensions Between Canada and India
The murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar has led to increased diplomatic tensions between Canada and India. Following Canada’s accusation of India’s involvement in the murder, each country has expelled diplomats, further straining their relationship.
India has also indefinitely suspended visa services in Canada, citing security threats to its officials. This has sparked a tit-for-tat retaliation between the two nations.
The FBI has reportedly warned Pritpal Singh, a 69-year-old US citizen who serves as a coordinator for the American Sikh Caucus Committee, along with Amarjit Singh, a 70-year-old New York-based journalist and commentator, and another unnamed individual.
The warnings were given just days after Nijjar’s murder. Although the FBI did not specify the source of the threat, the timing suggests a connection to the ongoing tensions between Canada and India.
US State Department’s Stance
The US State Department has urged New Delhi to cooperate in the investigation into Nijjar’s murder. Labeling Canada’s allegations against India as concerning, spokesperson Matthew Miller emphasized the need for a full and fair investigation.
The developments have prompted a re-examination of threats against Sikh separatists around the world, as well as claims of suspicious deaths in the UK and Pakistan in the weeks before Nijjar’s murder.
The warnings and the escalating tensions between Canada and India have raised concerns among Sikh community leaders in the US. They urge the US government to take steps to protect them and stand up against what they characterize as an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian Indian government. The situation also poses potential challenges to the US-India relationship, which is seen as a critical alliance in the face of increasing global uncertainties.
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