May 26th, 2024

Protests as three Indian nationals face B.C. court, accused of Nijjar murder

By The Canadian Press on May 7, 2024.

A person walks past signs showing Hardeep Singh Nijjar at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, B.C., on Friday, May 3, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

SURREY, B.C. – Three Indian nationals accused of murdering Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar have appeared by video in a British Columbia court, with scores of Sikh community members inside and outside the hearing.

Protesters outside province court in Surrey, B.C., carried placards honouring Nijjar, a campaigner for Sikh independence, and waved the movement’s blue and yellow flags.

The three suspects – Karan Brar, Karanpreeet Singh and Kamalpreet Singh – wore orange jumpsuits and briefly responded to questions.

Brar and Karanpreet Singh agreed through their lawyers to make a next appearance at the Surrey court on May 21, while the court has yet to decide on a new date for Kamalpreet Singh as he seeks legal representation.

All three men, who were arrested in Edmonton on Friday, face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in last June’s killing of Nijjar, which sent Canada’s relations with India into disarray.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was credible intelligence that India’s government was involved, which India denies.

Some protesters carried signs bearing the faces of the three suspects, and the slogan “Indian agents arrested.”

Police said on Friday that investigations into whether India’s government was involved are continuing.

Nijjar, who was the president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, was shot dead in his pickup truck while leaving the temple’s parking lot last June.

He was a key organizer of unofficial referendums for an independent Sikh state in India and was regarded by India’s government as a terrorist.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2024.

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