• Saturday, May 18, 2024

Canada

Indian-origin Sikh, who had alleged extortion calls, shot dead in Canada

Boota Singh Gill, who owned luxury home-building company Gill Built Homes and headed a local gurdwara, was murdered along with another person in a site linked to his business. 

Picture for representation (iStock)

By: Twinkle Roy

AN INDIAN-ORIGIN Sikh builder, who was also the chief of a gurdwara the locality, was shot dead in Edmonton, Canada, on Monday (8). 

The 49-year-old Boota Singh Gill, owner of Gill Built Homes luxury home-building firm, was targeted at a construction site linked to his business. Another person aged 57 was also killed while a third, aged 51, suffered serious injuries. 

The Edmonton Police issued an official press release on the incident but did not officially identify any of the victims.

“Southwest Branch patrol officers responded to the report of a shooting in the area of Cavanagh Boulevard SW and Cherniak Way SW,” it said, adding, “Upon police arrival three injured males were located. EMS (emergency medical services) responded and determined two males, a 49-year-old and a 57-year-old were deceased, and a 51-year-old male was seriously injured.”

Read: Modi government assured about Sikhs’ safety in India, globally: American Sikh leader

“Upon police arrival three injured males were located. EMS (emergency medical services) responded and determined two males, a 49-year-old and a 57-year-old were deceased, and a 51-year-old male was seriously injured,” it went on. 

The officials denied any attempts at finding out the suspects claiming that the homicide unit was looking into the cause of the shooting.

They, however, cautioned the local residents asking them to “avoid the area of Cavanagh Blvd SW and 30 Avenue SW” soon after the incident.

Edmonton Police Service homicide officers were leading the investigation, the police said, adding there was no further information related to the matter, The Independent reported. 

Gill had previously reported receiving threats and extortion calls, prompting an investigation, reported several Indian media outlets.

“Why would somebody hurt him?” Mohinder Banga, a former city councillor who knew Gill asked while speaking to Canada’s CBC. He said Gill had strong ties to members of the Punjabi community in the city and even helped people by going out of his own way and accepting losses. 

“He was such a religious and helpful person, he helped anybody he could,” the councillor told the outlet.

The Indian government has in the past raised concerns about the extortion calls to Indian-origin people in Canada.

Read: Sikh separatist leader uploads video against India’s Modi, top ministers ahead of polls

In January, the Indian external affairs ministry had spoken over the incidents of people, especially Indian nationals, getting extortion calls.

“It is a matter of concern… People getting extortion calls, especially Indian nationals, is a matter of serious concern,” ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal had said. 

The remarks came during a media briefing when ties between New Delhi and Ottawa were strained following Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of the Indian state’s involvement in the elimination of Canadian-Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a gurdwara in Surrey in British Columbia last June.

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