Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

A photograph of late temple president Hardeep Singh Nijjar is seen on a banner outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib, in Surrey, B.C., on Sept. 18.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

A member of the Surrey, B.C., gurdwara where Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar served as president before he was gunned down in June says police have also warned him about a threat to his life.

Gurmeet Toor, who calls himself a close friend of Nijjar, says he was surprised when two police officers knocked on his door one night last month and handed him a "duty to warn" letter saying his life may be in danger.

Toor told The Canadian Press in an interview conducted in Punjabi that police advised him to be careful, to avoid gatherings and move to a safer location, but they wouldn't provide details on the threat.

He is member of the management committee at the same gurdwara where Nijjar was shot and has been campaigning in the unofficial referendum for an independent homeland in part of northern India.

The warning to Toor came on Aug. 24, before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Parliament, on Sept. 18, that Canada's intelligence services were investigating "credible" information about "a potential link" between Nijjar's killing and the Indian government.

India, which had issued an arrest warrant against Nijjar over his advocacy for a separate Sikh state, has denied the accusation as "absurd and motivated."

Toor said the youngest of his three children is living elsewhere after the B.C. Children's Ministry advised him to take the step following the visit by police.

He said it's hard having one of his children "ripped away" from the family, but he has decided not to live in fear.

"I haven't done anything wrong. I'm a hard-working taxpayer, a volunteer in the community, a small businessman. I only talk about Sikh sovereignty," Toor said of his work campaigning in the referendum on Khalistan.

Nijjar had been helping to organize the referendum before his death.

A statement attributed to Toor and distributed by the group Sikhs for Justice says he asked if the police officers who warned him of the threat to his life could provide him with a bullet proof vest, but they responded that it would be illegal.

Toor said he believes two other members of the Sikh community in Surrey have also received "duty to warn" letters, but he declined to provide details.

In July, Toor joined members of the community, including Nijjar's son, for a virtual meeting with then-Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and two Liberal members of Parliament from Surrey to share their concerns about the possibility that the Indian government was involved in the killing, he said.

He said he has since attended three more meetings, including with the RCMP, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams, led by the Mounties.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

Follow topics related to this article:

Check Following for new articles

Interact with The Globe