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Protesters outside B.C. court as Nijjar murder suspects make brief appearance

Three Indian nationals accused of murdering Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar have appeared by video in a British Columbia court, with scores of Sikh community members inside and outside the hearing.

Protesters outside the provincial court in Surrey, B.C., carried placards honouring Nijjar, a campaigner for Sikh independence, and waved the movement’s blue and yellow flags.

The three suspects — Karan Brar, 22, Karanpreet Singh, 28, and Kamalpreet Singh, 22 — wore orange jumpsuits and briefly responded to questions.

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Brar and Karanpreet Singh agreed through their lawyers to make a next appearance at the Surrey court on May 21, while the court has yet to decide on a new date for Kamalpreet Singh as he seeks legal representation.

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All three men, who were arrested in Edmonton on Friday, face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in last June’s killing of Nijjar, which sent Canada’s relations with India into disarray.

RCMP say the three men arrested in Edmonton have been in Canada for the past three to five years. Sources told Global News it’s believed the men were here on student visas.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was credible intelligence that India’s government was involved, which India denies.

Some protesters carried signs bearing the faces of the three suspects, and the slogan “Indian agents arrested.”

Police said on Friday that investigations into whether India’s government was involved are continuing.

Nijjar, who was the president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, was shot dead in his pickup truck while leaving the temple’s parking lot last June.

He was a key organizer of unofficial referendums for an independent Sikh state in India and was regarded by India’s government as a terrorist.

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With a file from Global News

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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