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Murder at the temple: The conflicting legacies of a B.C. Sikh leader

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Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a plumber who served as president of a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C. He was also wanted in India, where he was accused of being a leader of a militant separatist group.That contradiction did not die with him when he was gunned down in a temple parking lot on Sunday night.

Since then, he has been both mourned as a community leader, and cast as a terrorist.Speaking to Global News long before his killing, the 45-year-old insisted India was falsely smearing him in retaliation for his activism in support of Sikhs.Whether or not that was true, India wanted him arrested.

The RCMP did so once, but he was not charged, although he was put on Canada’s no-fly list.The investigation into his murder is taking place amid concerns India may have grown tired of waiting for his arrest and ordered his killing.His friend Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said Nijjar told him Saturday that gang members had warned him Indian intelligence agents had put a bounty on his head.The Canadian Security Intelligence Service also told Nijjar they had information that he was “under threat from professional assassins,” Pannun said.“We’re open to any potential motive at this time,” the RCMP homicide unit investigating Nijjar’s killing said on Wednesday.But investigators are grappling with a question they so far cannot answer: if not an extreme act of foreign interference by India, then what else could it be?Nijjar arrived at Toronto’s Pearson airport on Feb.

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