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Indian-American lawmakers want action against people involved in Pannun 'assassination plot'

New Delhi: All five Indian-American members of the US House of Representatives on Friday urged New Delhi to hold people responsible for an alleged plot to assassinate a Khalistani Sikh extremist in New York.

They also stated that New Delhi should give assurance to Washington that the hatching of plots to kill a US citizen should “not happen again.” They also warned that if India did not fully investigate and hold the people responsible for allegedly plotting the assassination in the US, it might cause “significant damage” to the relations between the two nations.

They also issued a joint statement expressing concerns over the allegation by the US Department of Justice regarding the role of an Indian official in a plot to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a leader of Sikhs for Justice, in New York.

Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Shri Thanedar issued the statement after receiving a classified briefing from the Biden administration on the indictment of Nikhil Gupta. Gupta was arrested in the Czech Republic by the US in connection with a foiled plot to kill Pannun in New York.

“We believe the US–India partnership has made a meaningful impact on the lives of both our people, but we are concerned that the actions outlined in the indictment could, if not appropriately addressed, cause significant damage to this very consequential partnership,” the five Indian-Americans said.

They added that the allegations made in the indictment of Gupta were “deeply concerning.” “We welcome the Government of India’s announcement of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the murder plot, and it is critical that India fully investigate, hold those responsible, including Indian government officials, accountable, and provide assurances that this will not happen again.”

The US allegation against New Delhi followed a similar claim by Canada about the role of India in the June 18 killing of a Khalistani Sikh extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in the parking lot of a gurdwara in Surrey. Though New Delhi dismissed the allegation, the Biden Administration has been nudging India to cooperate in the probe launched by Canadian agencies. It was also revealed that the US had provided intelligence inputs to help Canada accuse India in the killing of Nijjar.

(Published 16 December 2023, 23:32 IST)

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