May 22, 2024

Moon Desk: United States views the matter of an alleged assassination attempt on prominent Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York with utmost seriousness and has communicated this sentiment to New Delhi, a spokesperson for the State Department said on Wednesday.

In a daily briefing, Matthew Miller said Secretary of State Tony Blinken has formally raised concerns over the matter during discussions with India’s foreign minister.

When pressed for comments on the ongoing investigation into the assassination attempt, Miller deferred comment until the Department of Justice completes its inquiries. Simultaneously, he acknowledged that India is also conducting its own investigation into the matter.

Responding to questions about India’s cooperation with investigations, Miller refrained from speculating, noting that cooperation would be assessed once the investigations were concluded. He highlighted that the US had urged India to cooperate with Canada’s investigations into the murder of a Sikh leader and was awaiting the outcome of Indian investigations into the alleged conspiracy on American soil.

Pressed further on the issue, Miller refused to speculate on India’s cooperation until investigations were completed and declined to comment on whether the alleged actions constituted an attack on US sovereignty.

Speaking on the same matter yesterday, Miller had reiterated that ongoing law enforcement matters would not be discussed from this podium, deferring to the Department of Justice. He emphasised that the US government had communicated the seriousness with which it views the alleged incident to the highest levels of the Indian government.

Miller stated, “They (Indian government) have opened an investigation into the matter, and we look forward to seeing the results of that investigation.”

The spokesperson emphasised the US position against transnational oppression, asserting that this stance is not specific to India but applicable to any country globally.

The development follows US law enforcement authorities filing a “murder-for-hire” charge against Indian national Nikhil Gupta. The authorities allege a foiled plot to assassinate pro-Khalistan leader Pannun, purportedly supervised by an Indian government official.

A senior Biden administration official previously warned India over concerns that the government in New Delhi may have been involved in the plot. The indictment details that an unidentified Indian government employee contacted Gupta in May to orchestrate the assassination. Gupta allegedly sought a criminal associate, unknowingly reaching out to a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) source posing as a hitman.

The Indian government employee provided details about the victim, including phone numbers, daily routines, and the victim’s New York City home address. The government employee allegedly offered $100,000 for the assassination, indicating a complex web of international intrigue that law enforcement agencies are diligently unraveling.


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