(RepublicanNews.org) – Federal prosecutors have announced the involvement of an Indian government official who they say was the director of a plot to assassinate a high-profile Sikh separatist leader living in New York City.
The official, who has not been named nor charged, ordered the assassination which has led to another man being charged as part of the conspiracy. He is believed to have previously served in India’s Central Reserve Police Force and is now described as a “senior field officer” in intelligence and security management.
U.S. officials have known about the plot to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a prominent advocate for the Sikh separatist movement, since the spring of 2023. The creation of a separatist Sikh state is a deeply controversial issue in India, and Pannun is considered a terrorist in the eyes of the nation’s government.
The plot to execute him was foiled after the Drug Enforcement Administration set up a sting by having an undercover agent posing as a hitman. Previously, the conspirators recruited an international drug trafficker to kill the activist for $100,000.
A 52-year-old citizen of India, Nikhil Gupta, has been charged in connection with the murder-for-hire case and faces a potential 20 years’ imprisonment. According to the indictment, Gupta contacted a confidential source who put him in touch with the “hitman.” Gupta had been given Pannun’s address by an Indian government official in June, as well as information about his daily conduct and phone numbers.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said the federal office would “tolerate efforts to assassinate” American citizens on U.S. soil. Williams, Manhattan’s chief federal prosecutor, noted the connection to Pannun’s support for the Sikh separatist movement in a news release on Thursday, November 30th.
The Western world’s ambiguity towards the Sikh separatist movement has caused a stir in India in recent months. In September, the nation had a high-profile dispute with the Canadian government over allegations of its involvement in the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
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