THE BC Sikh Gurdwara Council has written to Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino “to investigate foreign interference” in the murder of prominent businessman Ripudaman Singh Malik who was shot dead outside his business establishment in Surrey on July 14.
Malik, 75, who had been acquitted in the 1985 Air India bombing case in 2005, was a founder of the Khalsa Credit Union and Khalsa School.
The Council told Mendicino: “Our purpose in writing to you is to urge you to ensure that the investigation into the murder of Mr. Malik is conducted thoroughly and transparently, including an investigation into the potential involvement of Indian intelligence agencies.”
Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara President Hardeep Singh Nijjar has denounced reports in the Indian media that linked him to Malik’s murder.
The following is the Council’s letter to Mendicino that was released on Tuesday:
July 17, 2022
Re: Investigation of foreign interference in the murder of Ripudaman Singh Malik
Dear Minister Mendicino,
We are writing to you today regarding the recent shooting of Ripudaman Singh Malik and the pending investigation into his murder. As a high-profile member of the Sikh community for over 40 years, Mr. Malik is credited with helping found Khalsa School (largest private school in British Columbia with over 3000 students) and Khalsa Credit Union and its many branches as a community focused bank. These endeavours within the Sikh community and beyond had Mr. Malik placed as a well known and respected member within many circles in which he engaged.
Our purpose in writing to you is to urge you to ensure that the investigation into the murder of Mr. Malik is conducted thoroughly and transparently, including an investigation into the potential involvement of Indian intelligence agencies. Aside from the immediate criminal investigation, Canadian intelligence and security agencies must also assess whether Indian intelligence operatives had any prior knowledge of the crime, and whether such agencies or foreign actors have been involved in influencing the media portrayal of the shooting or the subsequent political discourse that is emerging across the country.
Analyzing sources in the public domain, there is significant evidence on the record establishing that Indian officials and intelligence operatives have manufactured news coverage, offered bribes to media outlets to influence their reporting, and amplified targeted messages for several decades. This has been done to further Indian interests and comes at the cost of vilifying the Sikh community in Canada. A 1988 Globe & Mail investigation revealed that Indian intelligence agents had established a network of paid informers and agent provocateurs to penetrate Canada’s Sikh community to further this purpose since the 1980s.
More recently, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) has published multiple reports pertaining to foreign interference. Despite being heavily redacted with regards to the findings of foreign interference by India, a 2018 report made it clear that Indian operatives orchestrated an ongoing campaign to amplify a single narrative, emphasizing Indian national security while delegitimizing Canada’s Sikh community as extremists. National Security & Intelligence Advisor, David Jean, also went on the record to state clearly that Indian intelligence operatives were actively fabricating and promoting a false narrative through Canadian media outlets. This is further corroborated by the findings of the Federal Court of Canada in AB v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 461 which established that Indian intelligence operatives directly interfered in Canadian electoral processes, government policy, and media independence by explicitly tasking an individual to “covertly influence Canadian government representatives and agencies on behalf of the Indian government.”
These nefarious activities not only undermine Canadian institutions and impact Sikhs as a racialized group by convincing governments to repress vulnerable communities, but the lack of public acknowledgement also emboldens Indian officials to continue violating human rights in Punjab and abroad in the absence of any condemnation from the global community. The ongoing criminalization of Sikh activists in foreign countries as a result, is an extension of India’s criminalization of dissent domestically and its foreign interference and espionage.
As the Minister of Public Safety, it is imperative that you thoroughly investigate these activities in a transparent manner in relation to the murder of Ripudaman Singh Malik and beyond. The results of such an investigation must further be made public in order to ensure that all communities in Canada are protected from these illegal attempts to undermine Canada’s political institutions and journalistic freedoms.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you in the near future.