Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder: Indians accused of killing the Khalistan separatist appear before Canada court

Three Indian nationals accused of killing Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar appeared in person before Canadian court on Tuesday while fourth appeared via video conference.

PTI
First Published22 May 2024
The Canadian court ordered the accused in Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar's murder case to have no contact with several people in the community.
The Canadian court ordered the accused in Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder case to have no contact with several people in the community.(Bloomberg)

Three Indian nationals accused of killing Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year appeared in person for the first time in a Canadian court on Tuesday with the judge ordering them to have no contact with several people in the community.

Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22, and Karanpreet Singh, 28 appeared in person at the British Columbia Provincial Court in Surrey and Amandeep Singh, 22, appeared via video link, the Vancouver Sun reported.

The British Columbia judge has ordered all four of them to have no contact with several people in the community in their latest court appearance, the report added.

Also read: Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder: Three Indian nationals accused of killing appear in Canada court amid diplomatic crisis

Those appearing in person wore red prison sweatsuits as they entered the courtroom, while Amandeep remains in custody in Ontario where he was facing unrelated weapons before being arrested on May 10 for Nijjar’s killing.

Judge Mark Jette spoke to the men through an interpreter as he placed them under the no-contact order, before adjourning until the suspects’ next appearance on June 25.

Also read: Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder: ‘Our job is to protect Canadians,’ Foreign Minister stands by allegations against India

Richard Fowler, the lawyer representing Karan Brar, told the Vancouver Sun that," it's completely understandable given the context why there is an enormous amount of community interest in this case. That level of community interest makes me...to ensure that those charged with these offences have a fair trial."

"...And I have no doubt the members of East Indian community, broader Canadian community and the international community are equally interested in ensuring that there was a fair trial, that justice is done."

Attendees at the latest hearing for the men were searched before entering the courthouse, while a protest by supporters of Nijjar and the Sikh separatist movement he championed was taking place outside.

Sheriffs at the hearing placed peoples’ phones in plastic zipper bags and kept them outside the courtroom in plastic bins, with the judge warning observers that recording audio and taking pictures was prohibited, the report added.

Hundreds of local Sikhs carrying Khalistan flags and posters showed up at the courthouse.

Nijjar, 45, was killed outside Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18, 2023.

Also read: Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder: Canada Police arrests 3 Indians, probes ‘possible ties’ with Modi govt | 10 points

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations in September last year of the "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar.

India has dismissed Trudeau's charges as "absurd" and "motivated."  

Nijjar, a Khalistani separatist, was wanted in India on various terror charges.

India has been asserting that its "core issue" with Canada remained that of the space given to separatists, terrorists and anti-India elements in that country.

Following Trudeau's allegations last year, India temporarily suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens. The visa services were resumed several weeks later.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had recently said that by allowing political space to Khalistani separatist elements, the Canadian government is sending a message that its vote bank is "more powerful" than its rule of law. 

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