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Canada arrests three Indian suspects in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar

Canada arrests three Indian suspects in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Nijjar

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, wanted in India on terror charges (file)

New Delhi:

Canadian police said Friday they have arrested three Indians they suspect were part of the alleged assassination squad that killed Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year.

Nijjar’s killing had become the epicenter of a diplomatic row between India and Canada last year after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the role of “Indian agents” in the killing. India had dismissed the accusation as ‘absurd’ and ‘motivated’.

The three arrested Indians – Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22, Karanpreet Singh, 28 – had lived as non-permanent residents in Alberta for three to five years, said Chief Inspector Mandeep Mooker, who heads the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

They have been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, court documents showed.

Read | India cooperates with Canada in Hardeep Nijjar murder investigation: Trudeau Aide

Police said none of the suspects were previously known to them and they were investigating their possible links to the Indian government.

The killing remains “highly under investigation,” Deputy Commissioner David Teboul of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told a news conference Friday.

“There are separate and distinct investigations into these matters, certainly not limited to the involvement of the people arrested today, and these efforts include investigating ties to the government of India,” CTV News quoted him as saying.

Nijjar, a Canadian citizen wanted in India on several terror charges, was shot dead outside a gurdwara in Surrey on June 18, 2023. Trudeau’s indictment of India led to a huge row later that year, with both countries expelling diplomats from the other country.

Read | ‘Made up’: India rejects report on ‘secret memo’ naming Hardeep Nijjar

Earlier this week, a new row erupted after separatist slogans about “Khalistan” were raised at a rally addressed by Trudeau, prompting New Delhi to summon their Deputy High Commissioner and protest strongly.

On the sidelines of the event, Trudeau told reporters that Nijjar’s killing had created a “problem” that he could not have ignored.

India rejected his comment, saying it showed once again that Canada provides political space for separatism, extremism and violence. “This not only impacts India-Canada relations, but also encourages a climate of violence and crime in Canada, to the detriment of its own citizens,” said foreign ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal.