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Tuesday March 05, 2024

US charges Indian man for conspiring to assassinate pro-Khalistan Sikh American citizen

Nikhil Gupta, Indian national, is charged for allegedly killing American citizen

By Web Desk
November 29, 2023
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun gestures while holding a phone. — AFP/File
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun gestures while holding a phone. — AFP/File

The United States Wednesday claimed to have thwarted an alleged conspiracy in New York to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is a supporter of the Khalistan movement, charging an Indian man.

On Wednesday, Nikhil Gupta, an Indian national, was charged. According to the accusation, he was ordered by an Indian government official.

He was charged with murder-for-hire in connection with the scheme, which authorities claimed was coordinated from India.

The accused victim was not identified in the court records.

The Indian government has not commented, although it has already stated that it will investigate security concerns raised by the US in connection with the scheme.

"The defendant conspired from India to assassinate, right here in New York City, a US citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs," US Attorney Damian Williams said.

"We will not tolerate efforts to assassinate US citizens on US soil," he added.

Sikhs are a religious minority that accounts for around 2% of India's population. Some groups have long advocated for Sikhs to establish their own nation.

The Indian government has frequently reacted harshly to demands for Khalistan, or a separate nation, made by Sikh separatists in Western countries.

According to the accusation, Gupta was involved in international drugs and weapons trafficking before being allegedly recruited by an Indian government official to carry out the murder plan in May.

The official allegedly urged Gupta to contact an accomplice in the United States about the intentions. According to the report, Gupta planned to meet with a hitman in New York City to assassinate his victim.

Instead, he was introduced to an undercover law enforcement official who offered to murder the victim for $100,000 (£79,000), according to the accusation.