(Vancouver) The British Columbia gurdwara where a Sikh separatist leader was shot dead has launched an investigation into how a US newspaper was able to view surveillance camera footage of the June killing.
Posted at 9:48 p.m.
Nono Shen and Camille Bains The Canadian Press
Gurkeerat Singh, who said he was the spokesman for the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, said it was unclear how The Washington Post was able to see the video of Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s death.
“The video was not intended for the media or public as it is an ongoing investigation. This video should not be shared with anyone,” he said.
While Mr. Singh refused to allow the Canadian Press to review the video taken at the temple of the shooting, he did confirm the Washington Post’s information.
He said he had seen the 90-second video several times.
Mr. Singh said the video shows Mr. Nijjar leaving the temple parking lot in his gray pickup truck. A white car drives parallel, then cuts in front of the pickup and stops so that Mr. Nijjar cannot drive away.
Two gunmen then left the camera’s range to shoot the victim, Mr. Singh said, adding that surveillance footage showed the shooting was “pre-planned and well-orchestrated.”
The shooters apparently knew Mr. Nijjar’s driving habits and routine, he repeated.
“It wasn’t a coincidence. “These people had been watching Hardeep Singh’s movements for some time and knew which direction he was going and how he got out of the gurdwara,” Mr Singh said.
“It was just an explosion”
Mr. Nijjar’s death sparked an escalation in diplomatic tensions between India and Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in Parliament that Canadian intelligence agencies were investigating “credible” information about “a possible link” between the Indian government and the murder.
Mr. Nijjar was a staunch supporter of the Khalistan movement, which advocated for a separate Sikh homeland in the Punjab. He was one of the organizers of the unofficial referendum in several countries calling for a separate homeland for Sikhs.
The independence movement has angered the Indian government, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his “deep concern” to Trudeau about Canada’s handling of the movement.
Malkit Singh was the goalkeeper during a soccer match with friends at a field near the gurdwara on June 18 when he heard what sounded like fireworks.
“Someone said, ‘It’s not fireworks, it’s gunshots,'” he said in an interview translated from Punjabi. It was just an explosion, shots again and again. Then we saw two men running away, so me and a few players chased them. And two other people ran towards the gurdwara to see what was going on. I was barefoot because that’s how I tend to get to the finish. »
“The two men who were running so fast were wearing black hoodies and black trousers and their heads were covered with light pieces of cloth. They didn’t wear turbans. We just couldn’t catch them before they disappeared,” the witness said.
Malkit Singh said two days later, a friend showed him a surveillance video on his cell phone from the gurdwara parking lot that showed a light-colored car following Mr. Nijjar’s truck and then stopping the pickup at the exit. He and his friend were part of a committee led by Mr. Nijjar, he said, and therefore had access to the video.
Mr. Nijjar knew he was a target, Malkit Singh said.
Another witness described seeing another vehicle drive over Mr Nijjar’s body.
Sergeant Timothy Pierotti of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Wednesday it was an active investigation and the team could not release further details. There is no indication why police did not tell the media that a second vehicle was involved in the murder.
The Washington Post also reported that it took police between 12 and 20 minutes to respond after the shooting.
The RCMP released a statement Tuesday to correct the “murder file.”
“The first 911 call regarding this incident was received at 8:27 p.m. and the first officers arrived on scene within four minutes, with additional officers arriving shortly thereafter,” the release said.
The Washington Post did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.