THE decision on whether Jaswinder “Jassi” Sidhu’s mother Malkit Kaur Sidhu, and her uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha of Maple Ridge will be extradited to India in the brutal 2000 murder of Jassi, 25, in Punjab, India, is expected on May 9.
Earlier this year, in closing arguments at the B.C. Supreme Court, Crown lawyer Deborah Strachan had said that the evidence from the record of the case is that the two threatened Jassi’s new husband, Sukhwinder (Mithu) Sidhu, a poor rickshaw driver in India, on multiple occasions, telling him he would be killed because Jassi had married him against their wishes. Jaswinder was killed but Mithu survived when they were attacked in June 2000. The lawyers for the accused argued that there isn’t enough evidence against them.
LAST May, Jody Wright, who was Sidhu’s confidante and worked with her at a Coquitlam beauty salon, testified in B.C. Supreme Court that Sidhu had married of her own free will. Her secret marriage was exposed when her previous boss phoned her family about some personal items she had left behind and a family member discovered a marriage certificate along with letters and photos.
Sidhu’s family threatened her life and her husband’s life and she was forced to sign a document for the annulment of her marriage, Sidhu told Wright.
Wright told the judge that she typed out a letter for Sidhu to say she had been forced to sign the documents for the annulment of her marriage and that she had not been forced to marry.
Sidhu fled to the home of another co-worker and borrowed money to travel to India to bring her husband to Canada.
Tamara Lamirande, who also worked with Sidhu, testified that when she asked her about the bruises on her shoulder one day, she was told that her aunt hit her and that she was being threatened because of her marriage.
Sidhu had also been receiving calls from India from her husband and his friends that he and his family were being threatened and that he had been beaten up. Lamirande said that Sidhu was aware that her uncle had arranged people to scare Mithu so that the marriage would break up.
Sidhu told her that her uncle was all-powerful and held her responsible for what was happening. Lamirande said that Sidhu told her that her father was mentally ill and not consulted on anything. She identified Badesha in the prisoner’s box.
Deborah Devos, who ran the beauty school, testified that Sidhu told her that her uncle wanted her to marry a wealthy older man. She told Devos that her family life was controlled by her uncle and the girls had no rights or say.
When Devos offered to call police on two occasions when her uncle came to the school and grabbed her and took her away, Sidhu told her it would make the situation worse.
When David Crossin, the lawyer for Sidhu’s mother Malkit Sidhu, asked her if it was fair to say that the mother, because of her gender, was as much a victim as Jassi in that family, Devos replied that she believed all the women in that family were experiencing the same thing.
ON January 6, 2012, the RCMP in a statement said: “On June 8, 2000, Jaswinder (Jassi) Kaur Sidhu, 25, a resident of Maple Ridge was murdered in Punjab, India. Her husband Sukwinder (Mithu) Singh Sidhu was also seriously injured in this attack.
“Indian authorities, specifically the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Punjab Police Service (PPS) conducted an investigation into the murder. The investigation uncovered evidence indicating Jassi Sidhu’s family were involved in the homicide from Canada. As a result of an official request from Indian authorities, Ridge Meadows Detachment initiated some investigative enquiries on behalf of the Indian investigation.
“In 2004, because of the international scope of the investigation, members of the RCMP “E” Division Serious Crime took conduct of the enquiries and worked closely with the Indian Police to pursue extradition of the Canadian citizens.
“To that end, members of the “E” Division Major Crime Unit, along with other government officials, traveled on a number of occasions to India and identified a number of new investigative avenues that were instrumental in the extradition process.
“Seven other individuals have already been convicted in India for charges including murder, attempt murder and conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the death of Jassi Sidhu and attempted murder of her husband, Mithu Sidhu. This latest development culminates an exhaustive 11-year international investigation.”
Jassi and Mithu were attacked by criminals near a village while the couple were traveling on a scooter. Mithu was badly injured while his wife was abducted. Her body was later found in a canal. Her throat had been slit.
Indian police allege that the contract killers got the order to kill Jassi from Canada shortly after the girl had spoken to her mother on a cellphone following her abduction.
Her husband recovered, but in 2004 he was jailed for alleged rape, though his family insisted that he was framed by corrupt police who evidently had been bribed by Jassi’s influential relatives in Punjab. He was finally acquitted.
Back in October, 2005, The Tribune newspaper of Punjab reported that an India judge in Sangrur had sentenced seven goons allegedly hired by the victim’s mom and uncle to life in jail. They included a head constable. Four others were acquitted.
(Photos: Sukwinder (Mithu) Singh Sidhu and Jaswinder Kaur (Jassi) Sidhu. /
Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha. Photos courtesy of CBC)