White House appreciates India setting up own investigations on alleged plot to kill Sikh separatist

08:41 AM Dec 01, 2023 | PTI |

The White House on Thursday praised New Delhi for setting up its own investigations on the US allegations that an Indian official was involved in a plot to kill separatist Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.


The unnamed Indian official appeared in an indictment filed by federal prosecutors in a Manhattan court on Wednesday along with an Indian national, who the Department of Justice alleges hired someone in the US to assassinate Pannun, a vocal critic of India and espousing the cause of a separate Khalistan.

”These allegations in this investigation, (we) take it very seriously. And we’re glad to see that the Indians are too by announcing their own efforts to investigate this. And we’ve been clear that we want to see anybody that’s responsible for these alleged crimes to be held properly accountable,” John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, told reporters at a news conference here.

However, this will not have an impact on India-US relationship, he said, observing that the US unearthed this plot after the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US.

”I want to be careful here that I don’t get ahead of the Department of Justice and talk about an ongoing investigation. I would just say two things. India remains a strategic partner and we’re going to continue to work to improve and strengthen that strategic partnership with India. At the same time, we take this very seriously,” Kirby said in response to a question.


The Department of Justice, in an indictment charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta with conspiracy to commit murder for hire for his alleged role in the plot to kill the Sikh American individual. Gupta is accused of working with an Indian government employee to recruit and pay an assassin to carry out the killing. ”We are deeply disturbed by these reports and the potential threat they pose to the safety of our community. Since 2020, SALDEF has been tracking instances of censorship of diasporic Sikh voices and today’s indictment is not an isolated incident but a part of a broader pattern of silencing Sikh voices,” said Kiran Kaur Gill, executive director of SALDEF, which describes itself as is a national Sikh American impact organisation focused on building leadership and capacity in the Sikh American community.

”If these allegations are true, it would represent a serious violation of international law and be a blatant example of transnational repression,” Gill said.


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