Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canada-based Khalistani extremist and leader of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), was shot dead in Surrey, Canada, according to reports by various publications.
Two unidentified individuals shot the pro-Khalistan activist on Sunday evening at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, where he held the position of President of the gurdwara.
Jalandhar-born Nijjar was also associated with the separatist organisation Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) in Canada.
So far, no further details about the incident have been reported. The Quint has reached out to Surrey Police for a comment.
The police are investigating the fatal shooting.
Surrey RCMP issued a statement confirming its officers were on the scene at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara on 120 Street.
Police did not confirm the identity of the victim, who they said was an adult male found inside a vehicle with gunshot wounds. The homicide occurred in the gurdwara's parking lot, according to a statement from Surrey RCMP at 10 pm Sunday, 18 June reports CBC.
"At this early stage of the investigation, any possible motives for the shooting are not yet known," Surrey RCMP said in the statement. "Police are still working to determine possible suspect descriptions from multiple witnesses who were in the area."
Protestors have already started gathering in Surrey following Nijjar's killing. A gathering has also been scheduled at the gurdwara on Tuesday to remember Nijjar.
The 46-year-old Khalistani extremist was crucial in organising the Khalistan referendum in the Canadian city of Brampton, Ontario, in 2022. According to reports, around 100,000 people participated in the referendum.
The Government of India consequently lodged a protest with the Canadian government for allowing separatist activities in the country.
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also declared a Rs 10 lakh reward for tracking down Nijjar, who was also accused of conspiring to kill a Hindu priest in Punjab's Jalandhar.
The plan to kill the priest was organised by the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), for which the accused was the chief. According to the Indian government, he was responsible for operationalising, networking, training, and financing the KTF.
During NIA's probe, it was found that Nijjar had made incriminating statements, shared objectionable content, and posted photos and videos on social media platforms to “spread insurrectionary imputations” through hateful speeches.
Nijjar also faced charges in several cases registered by the Punjab Police, eventually leading to a red corner notice being issued against him.
A total of 11 kanal and 13.5 marlas of land belonging to him was seized in his native village, Bhar Singapura, in Jalandhar, Punjab, according to a state government order in 2020.
During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to India in 2018, the then-Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh handed over a wanted list to Trudeau which also included the separatist leader's name on it.