'No delay in Hardeep Singh Nijjar's murder probe,' Canada Police denies report

Sep 27, 2023 06:51 AM IST

Washington Post reported, citing witnesses, that police came 12 to 20 minutes after the gunshots that killed Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18

Canadian law enforcement has denied allegations carried in a report that officers arrived late to the scene of Khalistani figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing and a turf war led to a further delay in starting the investigation. The Washington Post, in a report on the murder, stated on Monday that at least six men, among them those that appeared to be Sikh, and two vehicles, were involved in the murder of Nijjar on June 18. It also noted that witnesses said that it took between 12 and 20 minutes after the gunshots that police arrived. It cited a witness as saying that an “hours-long tussle” between Surrey police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP over leading the investigation caused a further delay.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau blamed India for Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing.
Canada PM Justin Trudeau blamed India for Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Surrey detachment of the RCMP countered those claims, saying that the first information of the incident came at 8.27 pm and the first officers to respond reached the spot in under four minutes with more joining them soon after.

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“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. There is nothing to indicate this investigation was delayed in any way, either in the initial response or in subsequent investigative steps,” the statement added.

As is routine with murder cases, the case was handed over to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team or IHIT, with support from Surrey RCMP. “We are confident all necessary investigational steps are being taken to hold those responsible for the homicide accountable,” the statement added.

It also said this “public act of violence” has caused “members of our community to feel unsafe” and in response, it has increased patrols around gurdwaras and temples. “Surrey RCMP’s Diversity Unit has met with the Sikh and Hindu communities in Surrey and the unit continues to work closely with them to foster communication and engagement,” it said.

The statement said IHIT “cannot provide further details on any aspects of the ongoing investigation and will not be commenting further at this time.”

It said that the Post sent them a list of questions, with a deadline the next day, adding, “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.”

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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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