Dear [MPs name]
Actions the UK Government has taken to support the Canadian Government to protect its sovereignty, condemn the extrajudicial killing by the Indian government of a Sikh leader on Canadian soil and address the safety and security of Sikh activists in the UK
As you will be well aware on 18 September 2023 the Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau made a dramatic statement in the Canadian Parliament accusing the Indian government of involvement in the assassination on Canadian soil of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. What has emerged since the statement has sent shockwaves throughout the global Sikh community.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was the President at Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, BC and a leading advocate for the re-establishment of a Sikh homeland. He was brutally shot dead by assassins in the Gurdwara car park on 18 June 2023. Initial reports suggested there were two shooters who fled on foot. However, the Washington Post has now revealed the operation was much more sophisticated involving six people, a tracking system and at least two vehicles. Around 50 shots were fired of which 34 hit Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Justin Trudeau confirmed in his statement in the Canadian Parliament he raised the extrajudicial killing on Canadian soil in “no uncertain terms” with Narendra Modi at the recent G20 Summit in Delhi. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Melanie Joly subsequently confirmed Justin Trudeau shared his concerns with Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and Emanuel Macron. She has also personally discussed the matter with James Cleverly and other counterparts.
Joe Biden has confirmed he also raised the assassination in Canada with Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit. It has been reported several of the leaders of the Five Eyes nations that had access to the same intelligence raised the matter with Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit. A spokesperson for the Australian foreign ministry, Penny Wong said her government had conveyed Australia’s “concerns at senior levels in India”.
It has now been established the US provided intelligence to help Canada reach their conclusion on Indian involvement and US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has confirmed that the US are co-ordinating matters. The Canadian government’s allegations against the Indian government were based on both human and signals intelligence provide by the US, including communications involving Indian officials. This was backed up with information gathered from surveillance of Indian diplomats.
Canada’s national security and intelligence adviser Jody Thomas made two trips to India – the first for four days in mid-August and the second in early September for five days to provide evidence to her counterpart, discuss their findings and to ask for their co-operation in what has been described as ‘quiet diplomacy’. It has been suggested Justin Trudeau was forced to make his statement in the Canadian Parliament as this ‘quiet diplomacy’ had failed as top Indian intelligence officials were arrogant, refused to co-operate and did not deny their involvement in the assassination.
The revelation in the Canadian Parliament and the involvement of the Five Eyes nations has caused questions to be asked about the safety and security of Sikhs throughout the Diaspora, including the UK.
In the UK there has been more interest and mainstream media coverage about the mysterious death of Avtar Singh Khanda in Birmingham three days before the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. Several independent sources with contacts in British intelligence suggest there may have been foul play by the Indian authorities with respect to Avtar Singh Khanda.
Counter terror police told Sikh representatives in a meeting on 27 June 2023 after the mysterious death of Avtar Singh Khanda and the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar that they were deeply concerned with the activities of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the UK. The police suggested they were concerned that the NIA were sharing video footage and still photographs on social media of Sikh protesters in London. They suggested this may amount to “hostile activities” by a foreign government and would be deemed criminal activity and “state repression”. The Home Secretary and Security Minister would have been briefed by counter terror police on the activities of the NIA.
This was followed by the NIA extraordinarily and outrageously issuing a “hit list” of 20 Sikhs in the Diaspora on Indian television (Aaj Tak) in mid-July. This included six Sikhs from the UK and unbelievably at the end of the footage the NIA claimed to have eliminated Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Avtar Singh Khanda. UK MPs representing some of the six from the UK e.g. Pat McFadden MP took up the matter of the hit list with the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
Many believe the authorities in the UK raised concerns with the Indian authorities about the NIA after the NIA hit list was issued on Indian television. However in a tit-for tat response the NIA raided the family homes and harassed families of around 40 UK Sikhs in early August.
Since Justin Trudeau’s statement and the information that has emerged some are speculating on the use of third parties by the Indian government – gangsters and possibly Russian intelligence officers if poison has been used in the case of Avtar Singh Khanda. If this was proved to be the case it would be a massive challenge for the administrations and law enforcement agencies in the Five Eyes nations, especially Canada and the UK.
If India is ordering the killing of Sikh activists in western democracies this would be a live and present threat to their sovereignty by jeopardising the safety and security of their citizens for which there must be serious consequences for India.
Can you kindly:
1) Issue a public statement showing solidarity with the Canadian government and Sikh community by condemning the Indian government for the deplorable extrajudicial killing of Canadian Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
2) Confirm and let me know what if any action Rishi Sunak as the British PM has personally taken to raise this very serious matter with the Indian PM as he was personally briefed by Justin Trudeau. This is all the more important as the UK has access to the same intelligence being part of the Five Eyes intelligence gathering and sharing alliance and the UK has a very sizeable Sikh community that is deeply concerned with the safety and security of Sikh activists in the UK following the Canadian revelations.
3) Write to the Foreign Secretary asking him to clarify how the UK Government is supporting the Canadian government in its defence for the rule of law and protection of its sovereignty.
4) Write to the Home Secretary and Security Minister to set out actions that have been taken or will be taken to alert Sikh activists who may be under threat and address their safety and security.
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