Khalistan Movement: In a recent development reported by The Australia Today, three extremists face legal consequences for their involvement in a plot to kill Indian-origin radio host Harnek Singh.
The court proceedings revealed that 27-year-old Sarvjeet Sidhu admitted guilt for attempted murder, while 44-year-old Sukhpreet Singh was found guilty as an accessory. Additionally, a 48-year-old Auckland resident, who remains unnamed due to interim name suppression, orchestrated the attack, driven by longstanding animosity towards Harnek Singh‘s vocal stance against the separatist movement, according to NZ Herald.
During the court hearing, Judge Mark Woolford underscored the importance of safeguarding the community and implementing robust measures to deter religious fanaticism. The assault unfolded on December 23, 2020, when Harnek Singh was ambushed by a group of religious extremists in his own driveway. The assailants inflicted more than 40 stab wounds on him, necessitating over 350 stitches and multiple surgeries for his recovery.
Judge Woolford, in his remarks, highlighted the unmistakable signs of religious fanaticism in the attack and stressed the need for a distinct sentencing approach. He emphasized the paramount goal of protecting the community from further violence and sending a resounding deterrent message to potential perpetrators.
Harnek Singh, also known as Nekki, had reportedly been trailed by three cars filled with men before the assailants carried out the attack, leaving him with life-threatening injuries.
A former acquaintance, Avtar Singh, testified in court that he used to be friends with the person under name suppression but distanced himself in 2018, labeling him as a “thug” and “mafia.” Singh asserted that the individual had a manipulative influence, especially on vulnerable individuals. Another associate, Baljinder, disclosed that he was approached to carry out the murder but declined.
Khalistan Movement: 3 Extremists Guilty:
On the day of the attack, Jaspal Singh informed him that the task had been completed, stating, “Job is done, he’s no longer going to be on the radio.”
Despite two individuals, Jagraj Singh and Gurbinder Singh, being acquitted due to insufficient evidence, Jobanpreet Singh and Hardeep Singh Sandhu await sentencing in the early part of the upcoming year for their roles in the attempted murder of Harnek Singh.
In his testimony, Harnek Singh conveyed the persistent fear his family experiences daily and expressed gratitude to the New Zealand justice system for upholding the principle that “no one is above the law, not even religion.”
Addressing the defendants directly, Harnek Singh asserted that their intent to silence him and send a chilling message had failed. He affirmed his commitment to expressing his opinions and beliefs despite their attempts, highlighting that the only message they conveyed was that actions have consequences, even when carried out in the name of religion.
The judge echoed Harnek Singh’s sentiments as he handed down sentences: the mastermind received 13-and-a-half years with a minimum of nine years before parole eligibility, Sarvjeet Sidhu received nine-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, and Sukhpreet Singh was sentenced to six months of home detention.
Khalistan Movement: 3 Extremists Guilty:
The legal proceedings surrounding this case underscore the broader implications of religious extremism and the imperative of safeguarding free expression within a framework of justice.
The broader implications of religious extremism extend beyond the immediate legal consequences. The case of Harnek Singh brings to light the delicate balance between justice and the right to free expression. In a society that values diverse opinions, the attempt to silence individuals for their beliefs raises questions about the limits of religious activism.
The attempted murder of Harnek Singh sheds light on the challenges posed by religious extremism, Khalistan Movement, and the need for robust legal measures to protect individuals who express dissenting opinions.