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India’s assassination plot

Fault Lines investigates India’s alleged campaign to assassinate critics in the United States and Canada.

Last June, a Vancouver-area plumber named Hardeep Singh Nijjar stood before his congregation of Sikhs to deliver a dark prediction: agents of the Indian government were plotting to kill him. He asked his followers to continue to pursue his life’s work – an independent state for Sikhs in India – after he was gone.

When Hardeep left the temple that evening, a white sedan hemmed him in, two armed men jumped out of the car, and shot him dozens of times. It was clearly a planned hit – witnesses saw the gunmen jump into a separate getaway car – but there was no concrete evidence that India was behind the killing.

Indeed, it was almost unthinkable to outside observers that India would risk its diplomatic and economic relationships with the United States and Canada to silence a marginal activist like Hardeep.

But two months later, the US Justice Department unsealed an indictment in New York that seemed to confirm his darkest predictions. Prosecutors allege that Hardeep’s killing was one of many such assassinations that Indian spies were planning across the US and Canada.

On this episode of Fault Lines, we investigate the Hindu-supremacist political ideology motivating India’s North American assassination plots and the global rise in transnational repression.