India’s counter-terrorism law enforcement agency has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against a Surrey, B.C. man accused of plotting to carry out a major terrorist attack in India’s Punjab state.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar is accused of “conspiring and planning to carry out a major terrorist attack in India,” the National Investigation Agency said in its Thursday FIR filing, a key step towards pursuing extradition per India’s extradition treaty with Canada.
The Indian agency alleges that Nijjar is a top Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) militant based in Canada, although Nijjar has said several times over the years that he has nothing do with terrorist activities and is only exercising his right to freedom of speech in Canada.
According to Sikhs for Justice organization in North America, lawyer Gurpatwant S Pannun will defend Nijjar. Pannun tweeted: “SFJ To Defend – Nijjar is termed as “terrorist” and framed in false criminal cases only because he is engaged in a political campaign for a referendum in Indian occupied Punjab. “We will defend Nijjar against any attempt to extradite him to India.””
SFJ To Defend – Nijjar is termed as "terrorist" and framed in false criminal cases only because he is engaged in a political campaign for a referendum in Indian occupied Punjab.” "We will defend Nijjar against any attempt to extradite him to India" @rahultripathi pic.twitter.com/w7kyB7rgDh
— Gurpatwant S Pannun (@Pannun_SFJ) May 6, 2018
The case was registered under IPC Sections 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc ) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), and Sections 10, 16 and 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
This is the second FIR the agency has lodged against Nijjar this year. An FIR was registered against him on April 14 under IPC Section 120B and 13, 17, 18 and 20 of UAPA, according to the Indian Express.
Canada’s Department of Justice refused to confirm or deny the existence of an extradition request at the time, citing the “confidential nature of state-to-state communications.”