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Canadian RCMP arrests 3 in connection to slaying of prominent Sikh separatist

Federal police in Canada have arrested Kamalpreet Singh and two other Indian nationals accused of an international assassination of a prominent Sikh separatist leader last June, and are not ruling out “connections to the government of India." Photo courtesy of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team
1 of 3 | Federal police in Canada have arrested Kamalpreet Singh and two other Indian nationals accused of an international assassination of a prominent Sikh separatist leader last June, and are not ruling out “connections to the government of India." Photo courtesy of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team

May 4 (UPI) -- Federal police in Canada have arrested three Indian nationals accused of the assassination of a prominent Sikh separatist leader last year and are not ruling out "connections to the government of India."

The three men were arrested in Edmonton, Alberta, by local, provincial and federal police and are being transported to British Columbia where they face first-degree murder charges in the 2023 slaying of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told reporters Friday.

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Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and prominent Khalistan separatist leader, was gunned down in Surrey, British Columbia, June 18 in a busy parking lot outside a Sikh temple in broad daylight.

Last September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government had shared intelligence with its allies showing India was behind the slaying of the Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.

The 45-year-old's assassination was captured on camera and police quickly circulated images of the mask-wearing suspects and a vehicle of interest.

India vehemently denied any connection to the murder, calling claims "absurd."

Trudeau at the time declined to elaborate on the evidence, despite repeated pleas from fellow politicians.

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Indian officials were seeking Nijjar's extradition over what it called terrorism-related charges. The claims were widely dismissed by the international community as fraudulent.

Senior officials with the RCMP on Friday did not provide a motive or detail any evidence they've collected so far, saying the investigation into the murder is still active and ongoing.

"I will say this matter is still very much under active investigation. I will underscore that today's announcements are not a complete account of the investigative work currently underway," said RCMP Asst. Commissioner Dave Teboul.

"There are separate and distinct investigations ongoing into these matters, certainly not limited to the people arrested today. These efforts include investigating connections to the government of India."

Karan Brar, 22, Kamalpreet Singh, 22, and Karanpreet Singh, 28, were arrested Friday morning without incident in Edmonton where the three men were living on a permanent basis.

The three men all initially arrived in Canada on student visas but have links to gangs in British Columbia and internationally, the Vancouver Sun reported, citing confidential sources.

All are expected to make their first court appearance Monday.

Police are now seeking any information in relation to the trio's presence in Surrey during and leading up to the time of the slaying.

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"This investigation does not end here. We are aware that others may have played a role in this homicide," added RCMP Supt. Mandeep Mooker, the officer in charge of British Columbia's multi-agency Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. "We remain dedicated to finding and arresting each one of these individuals."

In November, an Indian national with connections to government security services was charged by the U.S. Justice Department with trying to assassinate a U.S. citizen living in New York City.

It's not known if the two plots are related.

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