Explainer: Who is Sukhdool Singh?

Another Khalistani terrorist shot dead in Canada

NEW DELHI | Updated: 21 September, 2023 3:50 pm IST
Sukhdool Singh, shot dead by two unidentified men in Canada

NEW DELHI: Gangster Sukhdool Singh, a Khalistani sympathiser, was shot dead by two unidentified men in Winnipeg, Canada amid ongoing tensions between India and Canada over the killing of a Khalistani leader.

Terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijaar was killed in the same manner a few months back, which resulted in a diplomatic row with New Delhi after Ottawa said it was pursuing “credible allegations” of the government of India’s hand in his murder.

Who is Sukhdool Singh?

Sukhdool Singh hails from Monga district of Punjab. He was a close associate of Khalistani terrorist Harshdeep Dalla. He came to Canada in 2017 to seek refuge, using fake documents to escape legal troubles in India. As per media reports, there were seven criminal cases registered against him.

Why was his name mentioned in the NIA’s list?

His name was also mentioned at number 33 in the National Investigation Agency’s list of 43 gangsters who had connections with Khalistani terrorist groups.

He had some affiliations with pro-Khalistan groups, his criminal activities primarily centered around extortion and contract killings, commonly known as ‘supari’ killings.

Singh had been orchestrating a range of criminal activities in Punjab and neighboring states through his associates and had earned a notorious spot on the most-wanted list of criminals in the region.

He was allegedly involved in the murder of kabaddi player Sandeep Singh Nangal during a kabaddi match held in Mallian village, Jalandhar, on March 14 of the previous year.

READ MORE: At No.33 in NIA’s list of wanted, Canadian gangster Sukhdool Duneke killed as tension escalates

Trudeau’s allegations

On Monday, after returning to Canada from India following an embarrassing visit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a special session of parliament that Indian agents could potentially be involved in the killing of Nijjar, who headed a local gurdwara in Surrey.

“I raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during my visit, which was marked by the Modi government’s cold response and plane glitches,” He told parliamentarians.

READ MORE: India halts visa services in Canada as tensions escalate 

Diplomatic fallout

Canada quickly expelled a senior Indian diplomat, prompting an angry response from New Delhi which laments that its repeated requests for extradition of criminals wanted in India and concerns over rising separatist activities in Canada have fallen on deaf ears.

In a tit-for-tat move, it also expelled a Canadian diplomat and summoned the Canadian high commissioner to lodge a strong protest over what it called “baseless” allegations.

As tensions escalate, India published a travel advisory cautioning its citizens against “politically-condoned” hate crimes and violence in Canada and asked them to avoid travel to certain areas in Canada.

On Thursday, India visa facilitator in Canada suspended all operations until further notice. This includes a temporary halt in accepting visa applications for India from Canada.

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