Khalistani protesters burn flag in front of Indian consulate 300 days after killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Khalistani protesters burn flag in front of Indian consulate 300 days after killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar

Khalistani secessionists burned and slashed Indian flags at a protest at India’s Vancouver consulate marking 300 days since the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar was killed last year outside of a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C. in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada believes was potentially an assassination carried out by “agents of the Indian government.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has denied this as “absurd.”

“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

At the Thursday demonstration, protesters burned and slashed Indian flags with kirpans, the sacred daggers of the Sikh faith, outside of the Indian consulate in Vancouver, urging for a referendum to form an independent Sikh state called Khalistan in India’s Punjab region.

In a video posted by independent journalist Mocha Bezirgan, protesters can be heard chanting.
“What do you want? Khalistan!” as they desecrate the Indian flag.

In a video posted by self described Sikh activist and journalist, Jagjeet Singh, protesters are heard chanting “Who killed Hardeep? (the) Indian government! Who killed Nijjar? (the) Indian government!”

The protest was organized by Sikhs for Justice, a Washington-based Khalistani separatist group designated as an “unlawful association” in India. India has classified the organization’s founder, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, as a terrorist.

In an interview with True North, Pannun accused the Indian government of having spies operating out of the consulate.

“We call the Indian consulate these terror houses from where Indian agencies, like RAW (India’s foreign intelligence service) and Indian spies are working, and that’s where they are challenging the sovereignty of Canada,” he said. “We all know from Prime Minister Trudeau…that Canada has been investigating the role of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar.”

Pannun accused a man who came out of the consulate building during the protest of being an Indian spy.

True North called the Indian consulate but the answering machine said it was closed for a holy day.

Nijjar, who lived in British Columbia, was viewed as a terrorist by the Indian government, who regarded him as the “mastermind” of the Khalistan Tiger Force, an illegal militant group.

Pannun accused the Indian state of threatening and suppressing free speech of Khalistani activists.

He said there hasn’t been a single act of violence since the beginning of the Khalistan referendum movement he started in 2020.

Another group connected to the Khalistan independence movement was involved in a terrorist attack on Air India Flight 182 in 1985, however.

Pannun’s group has been attempting to hold independence referendum in Canada and the United States, although they are non-binding and have no official status. The next one is scheduled for July 28, 2024 in Calgary.
If the referendums succeed, Pannun said the ones running the campaign to “liberate” Punjab would hire and collaborate with international law experts to draft up a constitution for the new nation which he says would resemble the American, and Canadian constitutions.

“We have proved it with our action that we are seeking a peaceful and democratic resolution to the ongoing conflict, whether Sikh’s have a right to self determination in Indian apartheid Punjab,” Pannun said.

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