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A recent investigative report by The Globe and Mail has brought to light startling allegations surrounding Mr. Dhaliwal, a man reportedly influenced by Sikh extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The report, citing an application to remand Mr. Dhaliwal into custody, claims that he told police in a small rural community that he had been sent by Nijjar to target “leaders of sects.” According to the application, Mr. Dhaliwal mentioned working with another militant and planning to retrieve “firearms and ammunition from Pakistan.”

In conversations with two individuals close to Mr. Dhaliwal, The Globe and Mail uncovered details of his fervent support for Khalistan, a movement advocating for a separate Sikh state. Described as gullible and fanatical, Mr. Dhaliwal was reportedly living in the basement of his sister’s Surrey home at the time of his arrest. His sister had sponsored his permanent residency in Canada. These sources also revealed that Mr. Dhaliwal, who maintained a close relationship with Nijjar, was allegedly planning attacks on leaders of Shiv Sena, a far-right Hindu sect associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political party. Leaders of this sect had been targeted several times in Punjab during the same year.

One of the sources mentioned attending arms training with Mr. Dhaliwal in 2015, while another confidante was informed about the training details. According to these sources, a group of five orthodox Sikh men in their 20s and 30s, led by Nijjar, underwent weapons and GPS training, secure communication practices, and target practice at three different locations in the Lower Mainland. This training spanned nearly a year and did not resemble the “camps” often described in Indian media. They also clarified that viral footage of a Sikh man shooting an AK-47 in a British Columbia forest was unrelated to their activities.

The Globe and Mail obtained several recordings of sermons delivered by Nijjar, which illustrate his extremist views. In an August 2021 sermon, speaking in Punjabi, Nijjar advocated for the use of weapons against Indian adversaries, declaring, “We will have to take up arms. We will have to dance to the edges of swords.” He criticized Sikhs who preferred peaceful activism and politics to achieve independence, stating, “Those who advocate peaceful methods, we need to leave them behind. What justice will we get this way?”

The language and rhetoric used by Nijjar in his sermons have long positioned him as a dangerous enemy in the eyes of the Indian government. Although he was never convicted of any crimes, interviews with those who knew him indicate a deep involvement in Sikh extremism. This includes allegations of organizing weapons training in British Columbia and links to the Khalistan Tiger Force, a militant group shrouded in secrecy.