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Canada arrests suspects behind killing of Khalistan separatist Nijjar

Members of the hit squad are alleged to have played different roles as shooters, drivers and spotters on the day Nijjar was killed at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia.

NijjarToronto: Canadian police on Friday arrested members of an alleged hit squad that they believe was ordered by the Indian government to kill Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver last year, according to local media reports.

Canadian broadcaster CBC said the three men are facing first-degree murder and conspiracy charges. They are accused of being shooters, drivers and spotters on the day Nijjar was killed, in an incident that ignited a high-profile diplomatic spat between Ottawa and New Delhi.

The ties between India and Canada have remained strained ever since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar in September last year.

India has dismissed Trudeau’s charges as “absurd” and “motivated.”

Quoting sources close to the investigation, the CBC reported that the police are actively investigating possible links to three additional murders in Canada, including the shooting death of an 11-year-old boy in Edmonton.

Members of the hit squad are alleged to have played different roles as shooters, drivers and spotters on the day Nijjar was killed at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, according to the sources.

The men were arrested Friday during police operations in at least two provinces, the report said.

Sources said investigators identified the alleged hit squad members in Canada some months ago and have been keeping them under tight surveillance.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are expected to announce the arrests and share some details of their investigation later Friday, CTV News reported, quoting a senior government source.

Nijjar, a 45-year-old Canadian citizen, was shot dead on June 18, shortly after evening prayers at his Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey.

India had on Thursday rejected fresh comments by Prime Minister Trudeau on the killing of Nijjar and said the remarks once again illustrated the political space given in Canada to separatism, extremism, and violence.

Trudeau addressed a Khalsa Day event in Toronto on Sunday that was attended by some pro-Khalistan supporters.

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