Two Punjab men charged in death of BC Sikh leader came to Canada on student visas

All three men, hailing from the Punjab region of India, face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Two Punjab men charged in death of BC Sikh leader came to Canada on student visas
Facebook / BC Sikhs
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Two of the three men who were charged in connection with the death of British Columbia Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar were in Canada on student visas.

Kamalpreet Singh, 22, and Karan Brar, 22, both arrived to Canada as students from India, both receiving their visas in 2019, and both from well-off families, reports the Times of India.

“For us, everything was normal ‘til we received this shock,” said Kamalpreet Singh, the father of the third man charged in the assassination. He said he had not heard of the other two men.

All three men, hailing from the Punjab region of India, face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the killing of Nijjar.

The murder led to diplomatic tensions between Canada and India after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly accused the Indian government of being involved in the death of Nijjar.

Nijjar—a supporter of the Khalistani movement which advocates for a separate Sikh homeland—was branded by the Indian government as a "terrorist" and was accused of leading a militant separatist group.

"Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar," Trudeau told the House of Commons in September.

"Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves," he said.

Two of the accused were the gunmen while a third drove the getaway vehicle, police say.

A student named Karan Brar—the same name as the aforementioned accused—had enrolled in an eight-month Hospital Unit Clerk program at Calgary Bow Valley College in April 2020. He would move to Edmonton soon after. It has not been confirmed if this is the same person, reports Global News.

It remained unclear why Brar stayed in Canada for years after completing his studies. However, in 2019, he was featured in a promotional video for EthicWorks Immigration Services, a consultancy operating in India and Canada. Speaking in Hindi and Punjabi, Brar endorsed the company, stating that he obtained a visa within days with their assistance.

In a statement, the college said it “does not have a record of ever having an affiliation with a company named EthicWorks Immigration Services.”

“International admissions are premised on meeting Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada requirements, program prerequisites, and academic requirements,” the statement reads. “We have a record of ethical recruitment of international students, including working with agents who are vetted through a rigorous and annual review process.”

Last June, Nijjar, who served as the president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, was fatally shot in his pickup truck while departing the Surrey temple’s parking lot.

Demonstrators from Nijjar’s temple gathered outside the Surrey courthouse on Tuesday, flooding the courtroom where the three accused appeared via video link.

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