Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Court Appearance of Accused in Hardeep Singh Nijjar Murder Draws Large Community Presence

Three Indian nationals charged with the murder of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar appeared via video link at the provincial court in Surrey, B.C., amidst significant public attention from the Sikh community. The accused, Karan Brar, Karanpreet Singh, and Kamalpreet Singh, dressed in orange jumpsuits, briefly interacted with the court during the proceedings.

The court session saw a substantial turnout from the Sikh community, with many gathering both inside and outside the courthouse. Demonstrators carried placards commemorating Nijjar and waved the blue and yellow flags symbolic of the Sikh independence movement. The scene outside the courthouse was charged with emotion, as community members voiced their support for Nijjar, who was a prominent figure advocating for Sikh independence.

The three men, arrested last Friday in Edmonton, are facing charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder relating to the June 2023 shooting of Nijjar. This incident has notably strained diplomatic relations between Canada and India. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated that there is credible intelligence implicating the Indian government in the killing, an accusation India vehemently denies.

During the court appearance, Brar and Karanpreet Singh, represented by their lawyers, agreed to their next court date on May 21. Kamalpreet Singh’s proceedings were delayed as he continues to seek legal representation.

The gathering outside the courthouse featured signs depicting the accused with the label “Indian agents arrested,” highlighting suspicions within the community regarding the involvement of the Indian government in Nijjar’s murder. Police have confirmed that investigations into these allegations are ongoing.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the slain president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, was killed in his pickup truck after leaving the temple’s parking lot. Nijjar was a central organizer of unofficial referendums for an independent Sikh state in India and was labeled a terrorist by the Indian government.

This court appearance has not only underscored the legal battle ahead but also the deep communal ties and ongoing concerns regarding international implications of this case.

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