Plot To Kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun : US Charges Indian Nationals Including A Govt Employee

In a major news United States has accused India of plotting a foiled attempt to kill Khalistani separatist and currently a US citizen Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

A former CRPF officer, alleged to be a government employee, initiated contact with Indian national Nikhil Gupta in May 2023. Gupta, according to reports, identified Hardeep Singh Nijjar as one of the potential targets. The U.S. Justice Department has filed an indictment against several individuals, including an individual described as an “Indian govt. employee,” for a thwarted conspiracy to assassinate U.S. citizen and Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office disclosed that the “Indian Government employee” directed the plot from India to kill the U.S.-based leader of the Sikh separatist movement. Murder-for-hire charges have been filed against Indian national Nikhil Gupta, alleged to have been recruited by the Indian government employee for the assassination plan. Gupta, who was arrested by Czech authorities in June, is currently awaiting extradition.

The press release provides details about the government employee, believed to be a former CRPF officer, who established contact with Nikhil Gupta in May 2023. Gupta is quoted as mentioning Hardeep Singh Nijjar as one of the potential targets. Nijjar was fatally shot outside a Gurdwara in Canada’s Surrey on June 18.

Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, stated, “As alleged, the defendant conspired from India to assassinate, right here in New York City, a U.S. citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs, an ethnoreligious minority group in India.”

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The Ministry of External Affairs in India has initiated a “high-level enquiry committee” to investigate U.S. government reports about the alleged involvement of Indians in a plot to target a Khalistani leader in the U.S. The Financial Times reported on November 22 that the U.S. government had foiled a plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on U.S. soil and had warned New Delhi about its purported involvement in the conspiracy.

In response, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi stated that India had formed a high-level inquiry committee on November 18 to examine all relevant aspects of the matter. Bagchi also noted that during discussions with the U.S. on bilateral security cooperation, the U.S. shared inputs regarding the nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists, and others.

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