The involvement of an Indian government official in plotting an assassination inside the United States (US) is alarming. It reveals India’s quest to hunt down dissent outside its borders. The victim of the plot is a Sikh activist based in New York, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who runs ‘Sikhs for Justice’ – a collective with a footprint in other countries as well, including Australia and Canada. The person who has been charged for conspiring this murder attempt, Nikhil Gupta, is an Indian citizen who was in touch with an Indian government official.
The fact that Nikhil Gupta was traced in the Czech Republic and was brought to the US through extradition laws tells how complex this crime web is. It also tells that India made use of an already established criminal network to hit a target inside the US. The probe by the US has come very swiftly, with the first-ever news of a failed plot appearing in the Financial Times just a few days back. This whole case points to a worrying trend where a country can go to any length to target people who it considers are against it.
Plotting a murder-for-hire to conceal the actual perpetrators reveals how notorious this transnational activity has become. The involvement of a country in activating all the illegal means to achieve its goal is not just disappointing but is an infringement on the rights and freedoms of people. A thorough investigation must be carried out to reach and name the government officer behind this plot. Only then the actual intention of the perpetrators will be known. If an investigation has already been completed, the US must bring forth the findings.
This is not an isolated incident. The involvement of India in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June this year tells us it’s a trail that can be traced. The impunity with which India believes it can silence dissent the world over must be put a stop to. No one should be targeted for voicing differences peacefully. The failed plot adds up to India’s unjust violence against minorities – both within and outside.