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Canadian police arrest 3 Indian nationals in the killing of B.C. Sikh activist, Hardip Singh Nijjar

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | May 04, 2024 03:53 PM

SURREY, B.C: Three Indian nationals have been charged with the murder of B.C. Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a killing last year that threw Ottawa's relationship with New Delhi into disarray.

Police say they are investigating if the Indian government was involved, an allegation raised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons last year.

Police say the three suspects arrested in Nijjar's killing - Karan Brar, Karanpreet Singh and Kamalpreet Singh - are all male Indian nationals in their 20s living in Edmonton. They had entered Canada on student visa but suspected to be working as agents of Indian agencies.

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Supt. Mandeep Mooker said in a Surrey, B.C., news conference on Friday that the three men had been arrested in Edmonton and there may be more suspects and arrests as the investigation progresses.

One of the suspected killer of Nijjar

“We are investigating if there are any ties to the government of India, ” Mooker said.

Nijjar was shot and killed in his pickup truck last June as he left the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, touching off a wave of protests and rallies from local communities against diplomats from India.

He was the president of the gurdwara. Nijjar also campaigned for a separate Sikh homeland in India - also known as Khalistan - and organized unofficial referendums around the world about Punjabi independence.

B.C. Gurdwaras Council spokesman Moninder Singh said he and Nijjar's family were briefed by investigators in Surrey about the arrests, and Nijjar's children were “very emotional.”

“At the moment, there is a bit of a sigh of relief in their father's murder, ” said Singh. “There's a bit of anger and frustration around why this had to happen in the first place, and then there are a lot of questions around India.

“Is this over? How do we go back into our community and have this conversation around is this safe or is it not safe?”

Trudeau said in September that there was credible intelligence linking Nijjar's killing to the Indian government, touching off a diplomatic row that resulted in India suspending issuing visas to Canadians for two months.

India has repeatedly denied involvement in Nijjar's death.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner David Teboul said police in Canada have been trying to collaborate with Indian authorities on investigations such as the Nijjar case, an effort that began before his killing. “But it's been difficult.”

Federal Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said in Ottawa that he understands that members of the Indo-Canadian community and others “may still have questions or concerns, ” and asked that they “put their trust in the justice system.”

“Every Canadian has the fundamental right to live safely and free of threats of violence, ” LeBlanc said without taking questions, adding that his department will engage with community groups in the coming days.

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