• Sunday, March 03, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

New Zealand: Indian-origin trio convicted of trying to murder Sikh radio host who opposes separatism

The verdict came almost three years of legal proceedings after Harnek Singh survived a horrific knife attack in which he received 40 stab wounds in his hands.

Representational Image: iStock

By: Shubham Ghosh

THREE individuals of Indian descent have been convicted of attempting to murder Harnek Singh, a Sikh radio host based in Auckland, New Zealand. Singh, known for his stance against Sikh separatist ideology, was attacked on December 23, 2020, in Auckland’s Wattle Downs area and was left with 40 stab wounds in his hands.

The victim had an extensive treatment after the attack and had more than 350 stitches to his head and upper body, besides several surgeries to survive.

According to NRI Affairs, Sukhpreet Singh, 44, was convicted and received a six-month home-detention sentence after legal proceedings lasting nearly three years. Sarvjeet Sidhu, 27, the second accused, was convicted of knife assault and got nine-and-half years of imprisonment.

Read: India concerned over US linking intelligence official in plot to kill Sikh separatist

The third, who is a resident of Auckland, got 13-and-half years of jail term.

The verdict came after a series of hearings in which the presiding judge stressed on the importance of community protection and a strong message of deterrence in a particularly unusual case.

Read: Indian national charged with plotting to assassinate Sikh separatist in US

The judge’s remarks included an acknowledgment that, although not physically present during the assault, the third accused harbored deep-seated resentment towards Harnek, driven by his political views and a perceived “liberal interpretation of Sikhism” over several years.

The judge underscored that the third accused carefully orchestrated the “hit,” using his influence to recruit accomplices for the task, stating, “It bears all the hallmarks of religious fanaticism.” The judge highlighted the motive behind the attack as an action carried out in the belief that it contributed to the “furtherance of the greater good.”

In a subsequent ruling, Jagraj Singh and Gurbinder Singh were acquitted due to insufficient evidence, while Jobanpreet Singh and Hardeep Singh await sentencing in the case, the report added.

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