Indian citizens accused of killing British Columbia Sikh activist appear in court

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SURREY, BC — A British Columbia judge ordered four Indian nationals accused of murdering Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar to have no contact with several people in the community in the suspects’ latest court appearance.

Three of the four suspects – Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh – appeared in person for the first time in British Columbia Provincial Court in Surrey, and the fourth suspect appeared via video link.

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Those who appeared in person wore red prison sweatshirts as they entered the courtroom, while Amandeep Singh remained in custody in Ontario, where he faced gun offenses before being arrested on May 10 for Nijjar’s murder.

Judge Emmet Duncan spoke to the men through an interpreter as he imposed the no-contact order, before adjourning the session until the suspects’ next appearance on June 25.

Prosecutor Marcel Daigle said the time until the next hearing will allow the Crown to fulfill its obligations to disclose evidence to the suspects’ lawyers.

Those attending the hearing were searched before entering the court, while supporters of Nijjar and the Sikh separatist movement he defended demonstrated outside.

The four Indian nationals are charged with murder and conspiracy over last year’s killing that disrupted Canada’s relations with India.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said credible intelligence links Nijjar’s death to Indian government involvement, but India has denied involvement in the case.

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Nijjar was a key organizer of the overseas vote on an independent Sikh state in India, and was shot dead in the parking lot of the Surrey temple where he was president in June 2023.

Bailiffs at the hearing placed people’s phones in resealable plastic bags and kept them outside the courtroom in plastic containers, and the judge warned observers that recording audio and taking photographs were prohibited.

Outside the court, Sikhs gathered with signs and yellow flags emblazoned with Khalistan, the name of the homeland they seek to establish.

BC Gurdwaras Council spokesperson Moninder Singh said after the hearing that those gathered outside were showing their support for the community, Nijjar’s family and the Khalistan movement.

“We will not be silenced,” Singh said. “I think the most important thing for people right now is that we will not give in to the fear and violence that India is trying to incite.”

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