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Canadian police denies report claiming delay in Nijjar’s murder probe

IANS | September 27, 2023 01:15 PM

TORONTO: Dismissing a media report which claimed that there was a delay in initial response to the fatal shooting of hard-line Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said its officers reached the scene within four minutes of the incident.

The clarification from the RCMP's Surrey division came after a Washington Post report said on Monday that at least six people and two vehicles were involved in the murder of Nijjar in the parking lot of a gurdwara in Surrey on June 18.

Quoting witnesses, the report said that it took between 12 and 20 minutes after the gunshots that police arrived.

"The first 911 call in relation to this incident was received at 8.27 p.m. and the first officers arrived on scene in under four minutes, with more officers arriving on scene shortly after, " the Surrey RCMP said in a statement released on Tuesday to "correct misinformation surrounding the actions of our officers".

The report also cited a witness as saying that there was an “hours-long tussle” between Surrey Police and the RCMP over leading the investigation, leading to further delay.

"It was suggested that there was a conflict regarding which police agency would head the investigation, however as the police of jurisdiction, Surrey RCMP is responsible for all police investigations in Surrey, " the Canadian law enforcement stated.

It further stated that "there is nothing to indicate this investigation was delayed in any way, either in the initial response or in subsequent investigative steps".

However, the RCMP acknowledged having received a request from an 'international media outlet' on September 23, which contained a list of questions directed at multiple police agencies with a deadline the following day.

"This did not provide an adequate opportunity to respond. Subsequently a story was published which contained inaccurate information on the police response to this homicide, " the RCMP statement read.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), which mostly takes lead on all homicide investigations in Canada, was called out and assumed conduct of the probe Surrey RCMP's support.

"We are confident all necessary investigational steps are being taken to hold those responsible for the homicide accountable, " the statement said.

Calling the incident a "public act of violence which has caused members of our community to feel unsafe", the Surrey RCMP said it has increased patrols around gurdwaras and temples.

Further, the Surrey RCMP’s Diversity Unit has met with the Sikh and Hindu communities in the British Colubian city, and the unit continues to work closely with them to foster communication and engagement.

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