FBI warned prominent US Sikhs of threats after Nijjar’s killing in Canada

Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned at least three Americans active in the Sikh community that their lives were in danger in the immediate aftermath of the murder of a “Sikh activist” in Canada last June, a media report said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has blamed the apparent assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on the Indian government, as assessment that has reportedly been backed by Canadian and US intelligence sources and has created a rupture in Ottawa’s relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, The Guardian reported.

The shocking accusation that India carried out an extrajudicial murder on Canadian soil — an allegation that has been denied by India — has prompted a re-examination of threats against Sikh separatists around the world, as well as Sikh activists’ claims of suspicious deaths in the UK and Pakistan in the weeks before the murder, the media outlet reported.

Pritpal Singh, a 69-year-old US citizen who serves as a coordinator for the American Sikh Caucus Committee, confirmed to the media outlet that he and two other associates were called by the FBI just says after the murder of Nijjar, the Canadian citizen who was ambushed on 18 June just outside his place of worship in Surrey, British Columbia.

The FBI, which must warn citizens if they learn that their lives are in danger under a legal protection known as a “duty to warn”, initially told Singh that it believed his life was under threat because of unspecified intelligence. A few days later, the FBI offered Singh more specific safety instructions. The Intercept first reported the case.

The FBI also warned another American named Amarjit Singh, a 70-year-old New York-based journalist and commentator who said he was first alerted of a possible threat against his life on 22 June. Singh told the Guardian that he was contacted by the FBI as he was returning from a protest against Modi in Washington, during a state visit in which US President Joe Biden hailed the US-India relationship as “stronger, closer, and more dynamic than at any time in history”.

In an interview in which he publicly revealed details of the threat for the first time, Amarjit Singh said the initial call from the FBI was followed up a few weeks later by a longer in-person meeting, at which point he said it was obvious that authorities were warning against a possible threat on his life by India, the report added.

Moninder Singh, a spokesperson for the British Columbia Gurdwaras Council, was one of five people – including Nijjar – who was warned by Canadian authorities in 2022 that their lives were at imminent risk, the media outlet further reported.

“We were never told what the risk was or where it was coming from. But we assumed it was India, because of our activism and outspokenness,” Singh said. “We expect them to attack us in the media, or character assassination, so this was shocking.”

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