Hardeep Nijjar killing: 50 bullets fired; coordinated attack, report claims citing video
The Washington Post, which also contained accounts of Sikh community members present in the vicinity of the attack, said the attackers fired roughly 50 bullets.
Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in a coordinated attack by at least six men who arrived in two vehicles outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Canada's British Columbia on June 18, The Washington Post reported, citing a review of a video footage. The report, which also contained accounts of Sikh community members present in the vicinity of the attack, said the attackers—two of them in hooded sweatshirts—fired roughly 50 bullets, of which 34 hit Nijjar.
Tensions flared between India and Canada following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's explosive allegations of a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar, 45. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. India has outrightly rejected the allegations as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official over the case.
Hardeep Nijjar killing: What does The Washington Post report claim?
- The Washington Post claimed that its investigation into the incident suggests “a larger and more organized operation than has previously been reported”.
- The Post claimed that Nijjar’s killing was captured by a gurdwara security camera and it has been shared with investigators.
- Giving details about the incident, the report said the 90-second video shows Nijjar’s grey pickup truck pulling out of a parking space. Then a white sedan appears in an adjacent lot that 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,” the report claimed.
- The video then shows two men in hooded sweatshirts emerging from under a covered waiting area and moving 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 report also cited Bhupinderjit Singh, a volunteer at the gurdwara, who was the first witness to reach Nijjar’s truck. Singh opened the driver’s side door and grabbed Nijjar’s shoulders. “The gurdwara leader did not seem to be breathing,” Singh was quoted as saying.
- Another Gurdwara committee member Malkit Singh told the news outlet that he saw two hooded men running toward neighbouring Cougar Creek Park. He chased them through the park. He claimed that they were wearing “a Sikh get-up", with hoodies pulled over small pughs on their heads and masks over their “bearded faces". They got into a waiting silver car in which three other men were already waiting, Malkit was quoted as saying.
- Witnesses told The Post that it took between 12 and 20 minutes after the gunshots for the first police officers to arrive at the spot.
- The witnesses alleged that authorities have told them little about their investigation of the June 18 incident. According to them, police were slow to the scene, and disagreement between agencies caused further delays, the report claimed.
NYT report on US's intelligence on Nijjar's killing
The Washington Post's report comes days after The New York Times claimed that the US had provided Canada with intelligence after the killing of Nijjar, but communications intercepted by Ottawa were more definitive and led it to accuse India of orchestrating the plot. The NYT report, which cited sources, came on Saturday as the top US diplomat in Canada confirmed that there was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” that had prompted Trudeau’s offensive allegation against India.
India had designated Nijjar, the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), as a terrorist in 2020.
The United States has urged India to cooperate with Canada in its investigations.