Canadian police charge three over killing of Sikh activist

Last Updated: June 19, 2024By

Three Men Arrested for Sikh Activist’s Shocking Assassination

Canadian police have nabbed three men suspected of being part of a hit team involved in the assassination of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. This marks the first arrest in the high-profile case, which officials believe was masterminded by India.

The Night of the Killing

Nearly a year ago, on the evening of June 18, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was brutally killed in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia. It was a well-planned attack: two shooters fired around 50 bullets at Nijjar and then sped away in a grey car. The attack shocked the community and was described by investigators as a meticulously planned operation.

Arrests and Charges

The arrested men—Karanpreet Singh, 28, Kamalpreet Singh, 22, and Karan Brar, 22—are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. These men were living in Edmonton, Alberta, and will be transported to British Columbia to face the charges. Court documents reveal that the conspiracy was planned in both Surrey and Edmonton from May 1 to June 18.

Community Impact and Official Statements

Brian Edwards, an assistant commissioner with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), called the killing “outrageous” and “reprehensible.” He highlighted the deep impact it had on the Surrey community and mentioned the ongoing collaboration with the Sikh community in the investigation.

“This has left lasting scars on our community,” Edwards stated.

Political Tensions

In September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the parliament, revealing that his government had “credible allegations” pointing to India’s involvement in Nijjar’s killing. He condemned the death of a Canadian citizen on home soil as an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” India has denied any direct involvement, suggesting that “rogue” operatives might be behind the crime instead.

Chilled Relations and Broader Implications

Nijjar’s assassination has strained the relationship between Canada and India, exposing what officials claim is a campaign of violence by India targeting dissidents abroad. The Indian high commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, chose not to comment on the arrests, labeling them an “internal” Canadian matter.

Reaction from the Sikh Community

Canada’s public safety minister emphasized that the arrests demonstrated how seriously the RCMP treats such matters. Gurpatwant Pannun, who has also been targeted in an assassination attempt, stated that while the arrests are a positive step, they only scratch the surface of the issue. He urged Canadian police to go after the intelligence agents and diplomats allegedly involved to dismantle the networks behind these crimes.

Further Investigations

The arrested men, who entered Canada on student visas three to five years ago and do not have permanent residency, are just the beginning. Superintendent Mandeep Mooker indicated that more arrests could follow as the police continue their active investigations across the country. Six men and two vehicles were involved in Nijjar’s murder, and Mooker assured that efforts to find all involved are ongoing.

Broader Implications

The CBC reported that police are investigating three other murders in Canada, including the disturbing killing of an 11-year-old boy in Edmonton. The World Sikh Organization raised concerns about the connections between the Indian government and criminal gangs, which were highlighted by these charges.

Continued Efforts

David Teboul, assistant commissioner and commander of the Federal Policing Program in the Pacific region, stated that the investigation into Nijjar’s murder is very much active, including exploring links to the Indian government. He acknowledged the challenges in working with Indian officials and agencies.

“We remain dedicated to finding and arresting each one of these individuals,” said Mooker, emphasizing their commitment to justice.

The ongoing investigation is a testament to the seriousness with which Canadian authorities are handling the case, aiming to bring all those involved to justice and address the broader implications of international violence on Canadian soil.

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