The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned at least three members of the Sikh community that their lives are in danger, the Guardian reported on Tuesday. According to the report, Sikhs living in the United States received the chilling warning after the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June.
According to the newspaper, the FBI warned a 70-year-old American citizen named Amarjit Singh, who works as a journalist in New York and is known to be critical of the New Delhi government on the issue of Sikh independence. Singh told the Guardian that the FBI contacted him after he participated in a protest against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's criticism in Washington.
Canada: Sikkim protest against the government in India // Photo: Reuters
Singh met a week later with an FBI agent and heard from him about the death threats. "It was a warning. They told me not to travel too much and just take care of myself," the Sikh activist said. He said he decided to disclose the warnings he received only after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly accused India of assassinating Hardeep Singh Nijjar two weeks ago.
The whole affair put quite a bit of strain on relations between the United States and India. Last week, Washington called on New Delhi to cooperate with the Canadian government and the investigation into Singh's murder. "We want to see a commitment to accountability," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, "so it's important that the investigation is carried out properly and yields conclusions. We hope that our Indian friends will cooperate." Without going into details, Blinken added that the U.S. views "cases of cross-border repression" with severity and that "it is important to the international system that any country considering such actions does not do so."
Cleric Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Murdered by masked men, photo: AP
Brief background: Last June, a Sikh leader named Hardeep Singh Nijjar was assassinated in a public parking lot near a Sikh temple in the western Canadian province of British Columbia. Two masked men shot and killed him at close range. Nijjar was one of the leaders of the Sikh separatist movement, which seeks to separate from India and establish Khlistan, an independent state in the Punjab region. India, for its part, claimed that Nijjar was part of a conspiracy to murder a Hindu priest in exchange for a $12,000 reward. Yesterday, thousands of Sikhs took part in an anti-Indian demonstration in Toronto. Protesters called for Sikh independence in Punjab and vandalized portraits of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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