Three Indian nationals charged with murder of Sikh leader in Canada

Three Indian nationals charged with murder of Sikh leader in Canada
Three Indian nationals charged with murder of Sikh leader in Canada

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Superintendent Mandeep Mooker says Karan Brar, Karanpreet Singh and Kamalpreet Singh, all men in their 20s, were arrested Friday in Edmonton.

Mr. Mooker says all three are Indian nationals and have been in Canada as non-permanent residents for three to five years. He added that there could be additional suspects and arrests as the investigation progresses.

The men are expected to be escorted to British Columbia by Monday to face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme said that in addition to the murder case, separate investigations were underway into possible links to the Indian government.

“We hope this news brings a sense of security to the community, but the work is not done. The investigation continues and several other separate investigations are being carried out in parallel,” he wrote in a press release.

Killed when leaving a temple

Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot and killed on June 18 as he left the Guru Nanak Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, where he was president. The crime sparked a wave of protests and rallies by local communities against Indian diplomats.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons in September that there was credible intelligence linking the killing to the Indian government, sparking a diplomatic row that led India to suspend issuing visas to Canadians for two months.

India has repeatedly denied any involvement in Mr Nijjar’s death.

Mr Nijjar campaigned for a separate Sikh homeland in India – also known as Khalistan – and organized unofficial referendums around the world on Punjab’s independence.

A worried community

British Columbia Gurdwara Board spokesperson Moninder Singh said Mr. Nijjar’s family had been informed by Surrey investigators of the arrests and that the deceased’s children were “very emotional.”

“At the moment there is a little sigh of relief,” he said. There is some anger and frustration about why the crime happened in the first place, and then there are a lot of questions around India.” “Is it over?” How can we go back into our community and have that conversation: is it safe or not?”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada echoed those sentiments, welcoming news of the arrest of three members of an “alleged hit squad that murdered” Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The group said in a statement that it believed the arrests raised worrying questions about links between the Indian government and criminal gangs.

He noted that the Commission on Foreign Interference report shows that India uses proxies in Canada who work with intelligence officials in India and Canada.

An interim report on foreign interference released Friday in Ottawa argues that Indian officials engaged in a range of activities to influence Canada’s communities and politicians.

“India does not distinguish between the legitimate promotion of pro-Khalistan political interests and the relatively uncommon pro-Khalistan violent extremism,” the report said.

Indian officials in Canada are increasingly relying on Canadian proxies and contacts in their network to carry out foreign interference, the report added.

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