A look at the Sikh separatist movement at the root of tensions between Canada and India

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2023-09-20 00:58:03  • 10 mins

The diplomatic relationship between Canada and India exploded this weekwhen Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau levelled the accusation that India had been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen at a Sikh temple in British Columbia in June.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a gurdwara in Surrey, B.C., on June 18. A leader among the Sikh diaspora in Canada, Nijjar had been active with a group supporting the push for an independent Sikh homeland in northern India called Khalistan.

Nijjar's death and the ongoing tension between Canada and India are another piece of the Khalistan debate, which experts have described as complex, evolving and deeply emotional.

This is a deeper look into its history.

The Sikh Empire

Experts have said there are many different points in history that play a significant role in the Khalistan movement, with one key marker being the Sikh Empire of the early 1800s.

The empire was a kingdom in the Punjab region led by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, with the province of Lahore serving as the Sikh capital.

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