The US Division of Justice (DOJ) announced on Wednesday an indictment towards an Indian nationwide named Nikhil Gupta for an alleged unsuccessful plot to assassinate a US citizen of Indian descent who’s a Sikh separatist.
The unsealed indictment accuses Gupta of creating funds for the sufferer’s homicide and instructing that the homicide shouldn’t happen throughout “anticipated high-level diplomatic engagement” between India and the US. In keeping with the indictment, Gupta paid and gave instructions in regards to the assassination to an undercover US agent pretending to be a hitman. Moreover, the indictment describes the sufferer as a vocal critic of the Indian authorities residing in New York Metropolis. The sufferer can also be a pacesetter of a US-based group that advocates for the secession of Punjab from India and the institution of a Sikh sovereign state. The indictment charged Gupta with murder-for-hire conspiracy and murder-for-hire.
In response to the announcement, U.S. Legal professional Damian Williams acknowledged:
As alleged, the defendant conspired from India to assassinate, proper right here in New York Metropolis, a U.S. citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the institution of a sovereign state for Sikhs, an ethnoreligious minority group in India. I’m grateful that my Workplace and our regulation enforcement companions neutralized this lethal and outrageous menace. We is not going to tolerate efforts to assassinate U.S. residents on U.S. soil, and stand prepared to analyze, thwart, and prosecute anybody who seeks to hurt and silence People right here or overseas.
Czech regulation enforcement arrested Gupta within the Czech Republic in June 2023 on the request of the US.
Though the indictment doesn’t identify the sufferer of the assassination plot, a number of sources have reported that the sufferer is Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. Pannun is reported to be normal counsel for Sikhs for Justice, a US-based group that advocates for the secession of Punjab—the place Sikhs are the non secular majority—from India to type the state of “Khalistan.”
In response to the scenario, official spokesperson for the Ministry of Exterior Affairs for the Authorities of India Shri Arindam Bagchi stated:
We now have already stated that throughout the course of discussions with the US on bilateral safety cooperation, the US facet shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others. We had additionally indicated that India takes such inputs severely since they impinge on our nationwide safety pursuits as nicely, and related departments have been already analyzing the problem. On this context, it’s knowledgeable that on 18 November 2023, the Authorities of India constituted a high-level Enquiry Committee to look into all of the related points of the matter. Authorities of India will take obligatory follow-up motion based mostly on the findings of the Enquiry Committee.
Wednesday’s announcement comes just some months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that India’s authorities might have carried out the homicide of Sikh neighborhood chief and gurdwara president Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down in June within the parking zone of his Surrey, British Columbia place of worship. The September announcement from Trudeau has since strained diplomatic relations between Canada and India.