Surrey: At least six men and two vehicles were involved in the killing of Canada-based pro-Khalistan hardliner Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a gurdwara in British Columbia in June, according to a video reviewed by The Washington Post and witness accounts, suggesting a larger and more organised operation than has previously been reported.
Members of the local Sikh community, meanwhile, say authorities have told them little about their investigation of the June 18 killing outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey.
They said police were slow to the scene, and disagreement between agencies caused further delay.
Several business owners and residents near the gurdwara say investigators have not visited to ask questions or request security video, The Washington Post reported.
In a bombshell announcement last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canada’s House of Commons that authorities were pursuing “credible allegations” that agents of the Indian government were involved in the killing.
The allegations were based in part on information gathered by one of Canada’s partners in the intelligence-sharing Five Eyes alliance, The Washington Post reported.
Nijjar, 45, the president of the gurdwara, had received death threats in the past, his family said.
The murder was captured by a gurdwara security camera and the video has been shared with investigators, according to The Washington Post report.
A 90-second recording of the video reviewed by The Post begins with Nijjar’s gray pickup truck pulling out of a parking space.
A white sedan appears in an adjacent lot, pulls up and drives parallel to the truck. The vehicles are initially separated by a walkway.
When the truck speeds up, the sedan matches its pace. Then the truck merges into the sedan’s lane and for a moment they’re side-by-side.
As the vehicles approach the parking lot exit, the sedan pulls in front and brakes to block the truck.
Two men in hooded sweatshirts emerge from under a covered waiting area and move toward the truck.
Each points a firearm at the driver’s seat.
The sedan exits the parking lot and drives out of view. Then the two men run in the same direction, The Washington Post reported.
Authorities have not publicly discussed the white sedan or who might have been driving it. Nor have they mentioned the two additional men in the getaway car.
Community members say they’re most concerned that authorities did not offer Nijjar more protection before the killing, and that they’ve been given little information since.
“My father asked for increased police surveillance around the gurdwara so that the whole community could be safer,” said Balraj Singh Nijjar, Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s 21-year-old son.
The police said they would look into it, he said, but to his knowledge, nothing was done.
The threats to Nijjar’s life were well known in the community. Some gurdwara members told The Post they worried when they saw him driving alone.
His son said he wished he could have driven a bulletproof car, which is illegal in British Columbia, or worn a vest, for which a permit is required.
Moninder Singh, the spokesman of the British Columbia Sikh Gurdwara Council, said Nijjar’s mechanic recently found a tracker in the wheel well of his truck, The Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, Trudeau’s accusation has led to a diplomatic spat between India and Canada with New Delhi rejecting Ottawa’s claims as “absurd and motivated”, followed by tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats and travel advisories.