Three Indians accused of killing Hardeep Singh Nijjar appear before Canadian court | World News - Hindustan Times
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Three Indians accused of killing Hardeep Singh Nijjar appear before Canadian court

May 08, 2024 10:21 AM IST

The accused Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22 and Karanpreet Singh, 28, all residents of Edmonton, are facing charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder

Toronto: Three Indian nationals, charged with alleged involvement in the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar, appeared in a Canadian court on Tuesday, after their arrests on Friday.

Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh, the three individuals charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the murder in Canada of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in 2023. (REUTERS)
Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh, the three individuals charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the murder in Canada of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in 2023. (REUTERS)

All three appeared via a video link before a British Columbia provincial court in Surrey, where Nijjar was killed. They made their appearances before Judge Delaram Jahani. Nearly 100 protesters, many brandishing Khalistani flags and anti-India posters, also gathered in front of the courthouse.

The accused Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22 and Karanpreet Singh, 28, all residents of Edmonton, are facing charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Nijjar was killed in the parking area of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey on June 18 last year and some of the protesters came from that temple.

Their appearance from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre was procedural as they were informed of the charges against them.

Brar and Karanpreet Singh already have lawyers representing them while Kamalpreet Singh doesn’t. All three are scheduled to make their next appearance before the court on May 21.

The agency Canadian Press quoted Karanpreet Singh’s lawyer Jay Michi as saying that everyone, whether a citizen or not, was “entitled to due process protection”. Brar’s lawyer Richard Fowler said, “That level of community interest makes me even more resolved to ensure that those charged with these offences have a fair trial.”

All three were dressed in prison uniform and an interpreter was at hand for helping with translating exchanges in English into Punjabi and vice versa.

The posters displayed by pro-Khalistan protesters included those showing the three accused and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others featuring India’s senior-most diplomats in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and officers from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has said the probe is “ongoing”.

Canadian investigators have not, as yet, announced any link to the Indian government in relation to the murder. However, on Friday, Assistant Commissioner David Teboul, Commander of the Federal Policing Program in the Pacific Region, said there were “separate and distinct investigations ongoing” including “investigating connections to the Government of India”.

The killing of Nijjar on June 18, in Surrey, British Columbia, caused India-Canada relations to rupture after Trudeau’s statement in the House of Commons three months later that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the murder. India reacted by saying those charges were “absurd” and “motivated”.

India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma has described the arrests as an “internal” matter for Canada.

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