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Jassi-Mithu case: Extradition plan hits a hurdle

A three-member police team was expected to take custody of Malkiat Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha on Wednesday and return to India with the two in the evening.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2017 23:32 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya/Avtar Singh
Anirudh Bhattacharyya/Avtar Singh
Toronto, Hindustan Times
Jaswinder Jassi,British Columbia,Canada
Jassi’s mother Malkiat Kaur and uncle Surjeet Singh. (HT File)

The extradition of the mother and uncle of Jaswinder Sidhu Jassi, a 25-year-old woman, who was murdered in 2000 in an alleged case of “honour killing”, was stayed after their lawyer moved a court in Canada’s British Columbia challenging their surrender by Canadian authorities to a team of Punjab Police to stand trial in India.

Michael Klein, who filed the application before the court, told Hindustan Times that they had sought a “judicial review” of the decision to extradite Jassi mother Malkiat Kaur Sidhu and uncle Surjit Singh Badesha. Klein has also sought a review of the Canadian justice minister’s support for the extradition.

“The surrender cannot go forward,” Klein said, referring to the handing over of the pair to the Indian authorities.

A three-member police team was expected to take custody of Malkiat and Surjit on Wednesday and return to India with the two in the evening.

Sangrur senior superintendent of police Mandeep Singh Sidhu said the team, comprising SP (headquarters) Kanwardeep Kaur, Dhuri DSP AS Aulakh and inspector Deepinder Pal Singh, had reached Toronto from Vancouver after arresting the accused. “A Canadian police team accompanying our men received the stay orders. Now, our team will have to wait for the Canadian Supreme Court’s Thursday,” SSP Sidhu told HT.

“We had even sent another six-member team to New Delhi to bring the accused to Sangrur,” he added.

The lawyer of the accused said the application filed on Wednesday was based on “new information that has come to light” though he refused to divulge details about the nature of the information.

While the Canadian top court ruled recently in favour of the extradition going ahead, Klein said that in approaching the BC court of appeal, they were “in new territory.”

Jaswinder, a resident of Maple Ridge in British Columbia, married a man her family did not approve of and that summer, she was murdered in Punjab in what was an alleged contract killing at the behest of her family, including the two accused that the Indian authorities seek to take back to stand trial in India.

Jaswinder reportedly flew from Canada to India to reunite with her husband, Mithu Sidhu, after revealing her marriage to her family.

The couple was later attacked as they rode a scooter in a village near Sangrur in Punjab in June 2000. Her husband was severely beaten and left for dead while Jaswinder was kidnapped and later killed. Her body was found with her throat slit.

Her mother and uncle allegedly hired the thugs that carried out the attack.

Seven men were eventually convicted of the crime in India, but several of those convictions were overturned on appeal. Three people were found guilty of the murder in India, and authorities for years have been seeking the extradition of the two Indo-Canadians.

The family has denied involvement in the killing. In May 2014, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordered her mother and uncle to be extradited to India to face charges relating to the case. Later, however, the British Columbia court of appeal blocked their extradition to Indian authorities.

The ruling from the Supreme Court, delivered in Ottawa and reinstating the extradition order, was unanimous and based on assurances from the Canadian government that the two would not be ill-treated while in India for their trial.

Blurb Canada court stays extradition of girl’s mother, uncle; a Punjab police team was expected to take their custody and return home on Thursday

First Published: Sep 21, 2017 10:34 IST