Hundreds of people attended a community gathering at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, BC, on Monday after the president, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was shot and killed.
Nijjar was shot just before 8:30 pm PT on Sunday as he sat in his car in the busy parking lot of the Sikh temple after evening prayers ended.
The 45-year-old had received threats over his support of a separate Sikh state in India called Khalistan, according to temple officials.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and law enforcement in Canada did not adequately protect Nijjar, who was a target of Indian intelligence.
At Monday’s rally, the atmosphere was tense and tense, with several people voicing concerns about the safety of the Sikh community in the Lower Mainland.
“He was a very nice person and he was a very able leader,” said Prabhsharanbir Singh, a member of the community present. He raised human rights issues and various other Sikh issues.
“That’s why everyone respects him, and out of his respect I’m here.”
Singh says he believes Nijjar was targeted by the gurdwara. There was a general feeling at the meeting that the Canadian government and police could have done more to prevent the assassination.
“I think the state and the security apparatus should be more proactive,” Singh said.
Breaking: has reached out to CSIS and the Consulate General of India for comment on Nijjar’s death.
Federal Public Security Secretary Marco Mendicino did not directly answer a question from Breaking: about whether Nijjar was known to be in danger in Canada or was in contact with CSIS.