Canadian police arrest in murder of prominent Sikh activist | Police News

Canadian police have made the arrests, months after authorities accused an Indian government official of involvement in the 2023 shooting death of prominent Sikh Canadian activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia announced on Friday afternoon that three people had been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into Nijjar’s murder.

The three men, all Indian nationals, were arrested in Edmonton, Alberta, and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, RCMP Superintendent Mandeep Mooker told reporters.

“This investigation does not end here. We are aware that others may have been involved in this murder, and we remain committed to locating and apprehending each of these individuals.” said Mucker.

He added that police were “investigating whether there are any links to the Indian government.”

“However, as I said, this is an ongoing investigation and we have no information to provide regarding this matter at this time.”

Nijjar was shot and killed outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18, 2023, sparking widespread condemnation.

Months later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country’s security services were investigating “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government officials and Nijjar’s murder.

“The involvement of a foreign government in the murder of Canadian citizens on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of sovereignty,” Prime Minister Trudeau said in a speech to the Canadian Parliament last September.

“In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the Indian government to work with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter.”

His comments prompted a fierce reaction from India, which rejected the claims as “absurd” and politically motivated. New Delhi also accused Canada of not doing enough to curb anti-India activities and “Sikh extremism.”

But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has long faced allegations of targeting political opponents, journalists and religious minorities, including Muslims and Sikhs, and human rights groups disagree. They argue that this is a continuing effort to suppress them.

At the time of Nijjar’s murder, tensions were high between Canada and India over the Sikh movement for a sovereign state in the Indian state of Punjab. The campaign, known as the Khalistan movement, also has supporters in Canada.

Mr. Nijjar was the chairman of the Guru Nanak Sikh gurdwara temple, the temple where he was killed. He was one of those who supported Khalistan.

“Active activities of the police”

Asked for comment on Friday’s report that an arrest had been made in the case, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc referred the reporter’s questions to the RCMP.

“You will understand that the developments in the murder of Canadian National Nijjar are part of an ongoing police operation. This operation began today and remains a very active police operation.” LeBlanc said in Ottawa.

RCMP identified the three men arrested Friday as Kamalpreet Singh, Karanpreet Singh and Karan Brar.

Police Chief Mooker said all three were non-permanent residents of Canada and had been in the country for three to five years.

CBC News reported on the same day that anonymous sources said that on the day Nijjar was killed, “members of the attack force are said to have played various roles as shooters, drivers and observers.”

“According to sources, investigators identified the alleged members of the raiding group in Canada several months ago and are keeping them under close surveillance,” the Canadian broadcaster said.

The Indian High Commission in Ottawa did not immediately respond to NDMT’s request for comment Friday afternoon.

Reported threats

Nijal’s murder continues to raise questions about alleged Indian foreign interference, particularly within the Sikh diaspora communities in Canada, the United States, and other countries.

In September, Moninder Singh of the Council of BC Gurdwaras told NDMT that he was among five Sikh leaders, including Nijjar, who had been warned of threats to their lives by the RCMP’s national security wing in 2022. He said it was included.

Nijjar’s death has also led to reports of an alleged plot to kill another prominent Sikh separatist leader in the United States. In late November, the U.S. Department of Justice Announced price His opponent is Nikhil Gupta, a 52-year-old Indian.

Mr. Gupta is accused of collaborating with Indian government officials and others in a failed plot to assassinate American Gurpatwant Singh Panun.

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that U.S. intelligence agencies had determined that the operation targeting Panun had been approved by the then-head of India’s foreign intelligence agency, known as RAW.

According to media reports, the Indian government rejected these claims as “unwarranted” and “baseless.”

On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the Washington Post report “seriously troubling.”

“The Indian government has made it very clear that it takes this matter seriously and will look into it, and we look forward to accountability from the government,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. Told.

He added that Washington will continue to express its concerns to New Delhi.

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