Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Sikh separatist’s home in Canada hit by gunfire

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Shots appear to have been fired at the Canadian home of a Sikh separatist activist, police said Monday, following recent allegations by Ottawa and Washington that Indian dissidents living abroad in both countries have been targeted for assassination.

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Constable Tyler Bell-Morena said Peel Regional Police were alerted by construction crews about what appeared to be “a bullet hole in a window of the home” of Inderjit Singh Gosal in the province of Ontario, and are investigating.

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Gosal is also a close associate of prominent Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American Sikh activist in New York whom US authorities say was the target of a thwarted assassination plot in the United States last year.

There were no injuries in the shooting as the Brampton, Ontario, home is under construction and currently unoccupied.

“We understand who this person is and his affiliations, but it’s just too early for us to speculate that there’s any connection” to other violence and threats, Bell-Morena told AFP.

“We are obviously investigating it with all avenues in mind,” he added.

Pannun, writing on social media, called the incident a “drive-by shooting.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September directly linked New Delhi to the killing of another Sikh separatist in the country, Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

After Trudeau went public with his allegations, India denied the charges and responded furiously, briefly curbing visas for Canadians and forcing Ottawa to withdraw diplomats.

Canada also suspended negotiations for a free-trade agreement with India.

Washington was more reserved in its assessment of New Delhi’s potential involvement in the Pannun case, saying only that an Indian government official was allegedly involved in the planning.

Earlier this month, a group of people shot at the British Columbia home of Simranjeet Singh, an associate of Nijjar. Two Canadian teens have been arrested for discharging a firearm, but a motive has not been determined by police, according to Canadian media.

Both cases center on radical Sikh separatists living abroad and promoting an independent state called Khalistan in the northern Indian state Punjab, where New Delhi crushed an insurgency three decades ago.


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