New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) Khalistan-backer Hardeep Singh Nijjar whose killing has triggered a diplomatic row between India and Canada, had gone to Pakistan to gain "expertise" in arms and ammunition, according to fresh findings by the Indian Intelligence agencies, a source in the know of things said.
As per the Intelligence findings, he went to Pakistan in April 2012 even as he was active in the world of crime since 1980. It has been claimed that in Pakistan, he was provided training in handling IEDs by a terrorist.
Nijjar had in 2014 planned to carry out an attack on Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at his premises in Haryana's Sirsa.
He had also directed his aides in India to target Baba Mann Singh Pehowa Wale; Nishant Sharma, Punjab-based Shiv Sena leader and Mohammad Izhar Alam the then DGP.
It was also revealed that Nijjar was involved in criminal activities since 1980 and was in constant touch with gangsters since then.
"Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a plumber by profession and believed to be the financier of arrested KTF chief Jagtar Singh Tara. Nijjar was introduced in 2011 to Tara by US-based terrorist Gurnek Singh a.k.a. Neka. Nijjar visited Pakistan in April 2012 for 15 days where he was trained by Tara in handling arms and making IEDs.
"He had sent Rs 5 lakh in September 2012 for the personal use of Tara and another Rs 5 lakh in 2013 for purchase of a para-glider from Spain. Tara trained (in Vancouver, Dec 2013) Nijjar in operating a hand-held GPS device through his associate Harjot Singh Birring of the US. As per the plan, Nijjar was to travel to India and collect the dumped arms/explosives using GPS coordinates. After the arrest of Tara in Thailand, Nijjar went to Thailand to meet Tara so that he could personally go to Pakistan carrying Tara's message for the ISI. Nijjar travelled to Lahore in the first week of November 2014," read the report accessed by IANS.
Nijjar was fascinated by gangster Gurnek Singh (Neka) and entered the world of crime while working as a truck driver.
The report has mentioned that between 1980 and 1990 he came in contact with the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF). After continuously working with the KCF he became a close aide of Pakistan-based Jagtar Singh Tara, the chief of the KCF in 2012.
In fact, in April 2012, Nijjar went to Pakistan with a Baisakhi Jatha. He spent two weeks in Pakistan where he was given arms training by a Pakistan-based terrorist.
Later, he fled to Canada. Nijjar was engaged in the recruitment of youths and formation of terrorist groups for engaging in extortion for raising funds for the KTF, and for carrying out targeted killings of businessmen and leaders of particular communities in Punjab.
In 2020, he was declared a designated terrorist.
On a number of occasions, he held a Khalistani referendum. Last time, he held it on September 10.
Besides, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Special Cell of the Delhi Police have mentioned him in a few chargesheets which they filed recently in various courts.
The NIA has alleged in a chargesheet that he was making efforts to form terrorist groups in Punjab to carry out targeted killings, and the Special Cell chargesheet revealed that Nijjar was in touch with members of the Neeraj Bawana gang.
The dossier also says that Nijjar was peddling drugs to India apart from other terrorist and target killing activities.
In Canada, he associated with Mandeep Singh Dhaliwal, Sarbjit Singh, Anupbeer Singh and Darshan Singh a.k.a. Fauji.Nijjar wanted to spread his network through them.
This trio received arms training in foreign lands.
The fresh report reveals that Nijjar collaborated with Punjab-based gangster Arshdeep Singh Gill, also known as Arsh Dala from Moga, to carry out terrorist activities in the state.
Their alleged plan included a double murder plot targeting Manohar Lal Arora and Jatinderbir Singh Arora, a father-son
duo accused of 'anti-Panthic activities,' in 2020.
On November 20, 2020, Manohar Lal was fatally shot at his residence in Bathinda, while his son managed to escape. The dossier claims that Nijjar sent funds from Canada to facilitate this murder.
In 2021, Nijjar purportedly instructed Arshdeep to target a priest in Bhar Singh Pura village, Nijjar's native place.Fortunately, the priest survived the attack.
The report suggests that Nijjar played a significant role in orchestrating acts of terrorism in Punjab while operating from Canada.
In June, within a week, the deaths of two Khalistani operatives were reported. Avtar Singh Khanda died in the UK, and then Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in Canada.
These two deaths "rattled" the entire network of Khalistani terrorist groups.
The NIA chargesheeted Nijjar along with others in several cases including a case pertaining to a conspiracy to attack Hindu priest Kamaldeep Sharma at Bhar Singh Pura village in Punjab's Jalandhar district.
The NIA had also declared a reward of Rs 10 lakh on Nijjar in this matter.In March, the NIA had said it attached the properties of Nijjar.
In December last year, the NIA chargesheeted four Khalistan Tiger Force operatives including Nijjar in connection with the target killing of Dera Sacha Sauda follower Manohar Lal.
Nijjar fled to Canada in 1997. He had then possessed a fake passport.
Initially, his refugee claim was rejected.Later, he married a Canadian woman to become a permanent citizen of Canada.
In 2018, the then Punjab Chief Minister had provided a list of wanted persons, which included Nijjar's name, to the Canadian government.Later, in 2022, Nijjar's extradition was sought by the Punjab Police.
Both the Special Cell and the NIA have mentioned in their chargesheet that Nijjar was helping Indian gangsters, including the Neeraj Bawana gang.
(Atul Krishan can be approached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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