Fourth accused in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar appears in Canadian court

Toronto: The fourth person arrested and charged by Canadian police in the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar, made his first court appearance in the matter on Wednesday.

Amandeep Singh made his first court appearance on Wednesday in connection with his alleged role in the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar. (Credit: IHIT)

Amandeep Singh, a 22-year-old Indian national, was arrested on March 11 and charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He made that appearance before a provincial court in British Columbia virtually from a holding facility in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

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According to Canadian media reports, he has agreed to a trial, and his next court appearance will be on May 21, along with the other three who were arrested earlier from Edmonton, Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22 and Karanpreet Singh, 28. They had appeared before a judge on May 11 after their arrests on May 3.

According to a report in the outlet Global News earlier this week, citing an unnamed source, Singh was alleged to be one of the two gunmen involved in the killing of Nijjar on June 18 last year in Surrey, British Columbia.

Singh was already in custody of the Peel Regional Police (PRP) when he was named in the Nijjar case. He was arrested in November 2023 on nine charges including those related to unauthorised possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.

Four others were arrested at that time.

As was the case when the three arrested earlier appeared before court on May 7, a group of pro-Khalistan protesters gathered in front of the courthouse, displaying separatist and anti-India flags and signs.

Announcing his arrest on Saturday, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) said, in a statement, that it “pursued the evidence and gained sufficient information for the BC Prosecution Service to charge Amandeep Singh with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder”.

Canadian investigators have not, as yet, announced any link to the Indian government in relation to the murder. However, on May 3, 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”. A day later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the investigations were “ongoing”.

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 had described the arrests as an “internal” matter for Canada.

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