New Zealand: Three Khalistanis convicted for plotting to kill a Sikh radio jockey
New Delhi: Amid the controversial revival of the so-called “Khalistan Movement” in some countries, including India, the US, and Canada, three Indian-origin Sikhs have been found guilty and convicted for plotting to murder a Sikh radio jockey in New Zealand.
These men were found guilty of the attempted murder of Harnek Singh, a popular Auckland-based Sikh radio host, who was vocal against the ideology of the so-called Khalistan, the media reported on Saturday.
Singh was stabbed multiple times in his driveway in Wattle Downs on December 23, 2020.
According to The New Zealand Herald, the victim suffered more than 40 stab wounds when he was attacked by the three accused. After the attack, Harnek Singh required over 350 stitches to his head and upper body and multiple surgeries to treat the wounds.
After nearly three years of hearing in the case, the first accused, identified as Sukhpreet Singh (44), was declared guilty by a local court and was awarded six months of home detention, while the second accused, Sarvjeet Sidhu (27), was found guilty of attacking Harnek with a knife and was awarded nine-and-a-half years of imprisonment.
The third accused, a 48-year-old Auckland resident, was awarded a punishment of 13-and-a-half years, which has been one of the longest possible prison sentences for attempted murder in New Zealand.
During one of the hearings, the judge noted that community protection and a strong message of deterrence were necessary for this highly unusual case.
The court observed that though the third accused was not present at the time of the attack, he harbored a years-long resentment against Harnek due to his political views and more “liberal interpretation of Sikhism.”
He planned the “hit” and used his influence over others to recruit henchmen to do his bidding, the judge said.
“It bears all the hallmarks of religious fanaticism,” the judge said while explaining the motivation for the attack.
“Violence of this kind is committed to what is perceived as the furtherance of the greater good…,” he added while pronouncing the punishment.
Two men, identified as Jagraj Singh and Gurbinder Sigh, were acquitted in the case due to lack of evidence while two others, Jobanpreet Singh and Hardeep Sing, still await sentencing, the reports added.