In Canada, three Indians have been arrested in connection with the assassination of a Sikh leader

The issue created a major diplomatic crisis between India and Canada. Almost a year after the assassination of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in the west of the country, Canadian police announced on Friday, May 3, the arrest of three men of Indian origin suspected of participating in the crime. In the course of events, in June 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to the Indian government's involvement in the death of this separatist leader, infuriating New Delhi.

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Three Indians, two 22-year-old men and a 28-year-old man, were arrested on Friday morning in Edmonton, Alberta, where they live. They were charged with premeditated murder and conspiracy in connection with the victim's death and were jailed. All of them have been in Canada for three to five years, police said during a press conference.

On June 18, 2023, the day the Sikh leader was killed in the parking lot of a Sikh temple in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, the three suspects allegedly played different roles — shooter, driver and lookout.

An activist for the creation of a Sikh state known as Khalistan, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who came to Canada in 1997 and became a Canadian citizen in 2015, is wanted by Indian authorities for acts of terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder. The 45-year-old denied the allegations, according to the World Organization of Sikhs of Canada, a non-profit group aimed at protecting the interests of Canadian Sikhs.

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“Absurd” allegations, according to New Delhi

The federal police clarified that Friday's arrests did not end an investigation that began ten months ago. “This investigation does not stop there. We know that there may be others involved in this murder and we are determined to find and arrest them., said Mandeep Mukher, head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's homicide investigation team. He said that the police are trying to find out “If any connection with the Government of India”.

“It's a bit of a relief that the investigation is progressing.”He was responding to Agence France-Presse Moninder Singh, a close friend of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and spokesman for the Gurudwara Council of British Columbia, the province's Sikh body representative. “Ultimately, it is India that hires men to assassinate Sikh leaders abroad.”He charged, insisting Ottawa “Demand Liability” of the Government of India.

Canada has the largest number of Sikhs outside the Indian state of Punjab.

Another dubious case in the US

In September 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly blamed Indian intelligence in the matter. New Delhi was quick to elaborate on the allegations“absurd”. A month later, the Canadian government was forced to send back several dozen diplomats based in India.

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For its part, the US Department of Justice announced in November 2023 that it would prosecute an Indian national accused of financing a plot to kill another Sikh leader, Gurpadwant Singh Bannu, a founding lawyer of the Sikh Organization of America, at the instigation of a New Delhi agent. For justice.

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