The son of prominent Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar spoke publicly for the first time since his father’s killing.
At a memorial marking three months since Nijjar’s death, his son Balraj Nijjar said he was surprised by Monday’s announcement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Nijjar spoke from the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, where his father was killed in his truck, in the Gurdwara’s parking lot the evening of June 18.
“When I talked to IHIT, CSIS or any of these agencies, they keep telling me that it’s a process so I wasn’t expecting anything so soon,” the 21-year-old told Global News.
“Three months is a long time, but overall, in general, I wasn’t expecting anything. So when news did come out, I was surprised but it kind of drove away a little bit of anxiety that we were feeling.”
As the House of Commons resumed Monday, Trudeau informed Parliament there were “credible allegations” of a “potential link” between “agents of the government of India” and the murder.
Nijjar said the loss of his father is still fresh, especially given the circumstances of his death.
“It’s been hard, obviously. You generally don’t expect something like this to happen even in terms of like age, because he’s only 45,” Nijjar shared.
“If it were something like natural causes, it might be a little bit easier to believe and convince yourself of, but the way it went down. He had just come to the Gurdwara to pray and speak from the stage as he usually would every Sunday. It was like a weekly occurrence, not something new.”
On June 18, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds inside a vehicle.
The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) initially sought two suspects described as “heavier-set males wearing face coverings.” However, they later said the men were not acting alone.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s supporters claim the Indian government was trying to silence him because of his push for an independent Sikh state in India called Khalistan.
The Indian government claimed Nijjar was a terrorist and last year, put a bounty on his head.
His son says there is relief from Monday’s announcement, but adds, for months he and his father were warned of potential danger from India.
Balraj Nijjar shared a direct message to the Canadian government at Monday’s memorial.
“Sikhs all around the world believe this is not the end. This is just the first step,” Nijjar explained.
“Hopefully, Mr. Trudeau and the rest of the Canadian leaders take a stand.”
Nijjar says Monday’s revelation helps ease the burden on him, his family and the wider Sikh community.
“In terms of responsibility, it fell on my shoulders. My mom took it the hardest. My brother is younger, so it’s harder for him. My grandparents are seniors, so it’s kind of difficult for them as well,” Nijjar admitted.
“So, my role became, ‘how do I try to ease them and also try keeping them a little busy so it doesn’t just become the only thing in their minds?’ Once you just keep thinking those thoughts, it becomes a big burden on yourself.”
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