Toronto: Shots were fired in the early hours of Monday at a Greater Toronto Area home owned by an associate of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) general-counsel Gurpatwant Pannun.
The house, currently under construction in Brampton, was owned by Inderjeet Singh Gosal, who helped organise the so-called Khalistan Referendum in Surrey, British Columbia in September 23 after its coordinator Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed on June 18.
Police haven’t made any public announcement about the incident nor have they attributed any motive for it.
Gosal is leading a protest outside the Indian consulate in Toronto on February 17, to mark the eighth month since Nijjar was murdered.
“I have been heading Khalistan Freedom Rallies in front of the Indian consulate and I have been targeted for the same very reason that Nijjar was assassinated by Indian agents, i.e. our campaigning for the Khalistan Referendum,” Gosal said, in a statement released by SFJ.
Pannun accused India of being behind the incident as warned that if it was “using violence to stop the Khalistan Referendum”, New Delhi will “be responsible if the current spree of violent attacks on pro-Khalistan Sikhs turns into a cycle”.
An Indian national Nik Gupta is currently in custody in the Czech Republic, awaiting possible extradition to the United States to face charges that he allegedly attempted to hire a hitman to target Pannun.
The latest episode follows multiple shots being fired at the residence of Simranjeet Singh, an associate of Nijjar, in Surrey in the early hours of February 1. While pro-Khalistan groups blamed India for that incident as well, the Surrey detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested two teenagers in Surrey on February 6 for careless use of a firearm and discharge of a firearm with intent. They were later released without charges at the time.
Investigators there continue to “collect evidence to advance the investigation and determine the motive of this shooting”.
Relations between India and Canada nosedived when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in the House of Commons on September 18 last year that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and Nijjar’s killing. That case is being probed by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team or IHIT.