By Gurmukh Singh
Vancouver, Sep 9 : The Supreme Court of Canada has paved the way for extradition of Jassi Sidhu’s mother and uncle to India in a June 2000 honour-killing case in Punjab.
On Friday, in an unanimous judgment by a nine-judge bench of the apex court the siblings were ordered to be deported for their involvement in plotting Sidhu’s murder for marrying a low-caste rickshaw driver.
The top court overruled a lower court order that had stopped the deportation of the two accused from Maple Ridge near here.
In what became Canada’s most talked-about honour-killing case, Surjit Badesha and his sister Malkit Sidhu had hired contract killers to eliminate Malkit’s daughter Jassi (Jaswinder) Sidhu in June 2000, for marrying into a lower caste.
Canadian-born Jassi Sidhu, a Jat Sikh girl, had met Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu) in Jagraon during her visit to Punjab in 1996 and fallen in love.
The two secretly married in 1999 when she travelled to India.
Jassi was murdered near Mithu’s village in June 2000, when the couple was going on a scooter. They were waylaid by hired contract killers.
Punjab Police investigations confirmed it was an honour-killing plotted by Malkit Sidhu and Surjit Badesha sitting in Canada.
Based on evidence of 266 phone calls that Badesha had with the hired killers, India formally requested Canada in 2005, to extradite Badesha and Malkit Sidhu to face trial.
In May 2014, an extradition judge in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver ordered that Jassi’s uncle and mother must be deported to India to face trial.
But the British Columbia’s Appeal Court overturned the deportation order against the mother and uncle of Jassi Sidhu on the grounds of India’s “appalling” record on treatment of prisoners.
Friday’s order by the country’s apex court cleared the decs for their deportation.
Vancouver journalist Fabian Dawson, who broke the story 17 years ago and later wrote a book titled “Justice for Jassi”, told IANS: “Today’s decision is significant because it ends the case in Canada.
“Now the Indian justice system comes into play… It is the start of another chapter in the quest for justice for Jassi,” Fabian added, “I fear for Mithu because there have been several attempts on his life because he is the principal witness in the case.”
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)