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Sikh Activist's Killing In Canada, Three Arrested

Three Arrested Over Sikh Activist’s Killing In Canada

Three Indian nationals have been arrested and charged over the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada. This sparked a major diplomatic row between the two countries.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead last June by masked gunmen in a busy car park in a Vancouver suburb.

The diplomatic row escalated after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged India’s government may have been involved. Delhi strongly denied the allegation.

In announcing the arrests on Friday, Superintendent Mandeep Mooker said the three suspects were Karan Brar, 22, Kamal Preet Singh, 22, and 28-year-old Karan Preet Singh. He said all three had been living in Edmonton, Alberta where they were arrested.

They have been charged with first-degree murder, court records show, as well as conspiracy to commit murder. All had been in Canada for three to five years, police said.

Police added that investigations were continuing, including into “connections to the government of India”.

“There are separate and distinct investigations ongoing into these matters. Certainly not limited to the involvement of the people arrested today,” Assistant Commissioner David Teboul said.

Mr Nijjar was a Sikh separatist leader who publicly campaigned for Khalistan. He wanted the creation of an independent Sikh homeland in the Punjab region of India.

In the 1970s, Sikhs launched a separatist insurgency in India. This saw thousands killed before it was quelled the following decade. Since then, the movement has been mostly limited to countries with large Sikh populations.

India has in the past described Mr Nijjar as a terrorist who led a militant separatist group. His supporters say the accusations are unfounded. They say he had received threats in the past because of his activism.

He was shot dead at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, a city about 30km (18 miles) east of Vancouver on 18 June last year. Those close to him have said he was warned by Canadian intelligence services before his death that he was on a “hit list” and there had been threats on his life.

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