News East West
NEW DELHI (May 3, 2015): The Indian Supreme Court has upheld the life term given to two contract killers of Indo-Canadian girl Jassi (Jaswinder) Sidhu who was murdered near Sangrur in Punjab in June 2000 for marrying a lower-caste man against her family’s wishes. Jassi was 24 at the time of her murder, which turned out to be honour killing.
The apex court has also upheld the jail term for a police officer.
Jassi, who was born at Maple Ridge near Vancouver in 1975, met kabbadi player and rickshaw driver Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu) in Jagraon and fell in love with him during her visit to Punjab in 1996.
She returned to Punjab in 1999 and married Mithu in his village Kaunke Kalan village on April 15, 1999, before returning to Canada.
A year later when she again came to India to bring Mithu to Canada, she was murdered on June 8, 2000, near Mithu’s village when the couple were going on a scooter. They were waylaid by four attackers. Mithu survived, but Jassi was murdered.
Punjab Police investigations confirmed it was an honour killing plotted by her mother Malkit Kaur Sidhu and uncle Surjit Singh Badesha sitting in Canada.
Police presented huge evidence, including 266 phone calls with the hired killers, against Badesha. India formally requested Canada in 2005 to extradite Baadesha and Malkit Kaur Sidhu to face trial.
An court convicted seven people in 2005 for Jassi’s murder. But three were acquitted in 2008.
The remaining four, including police officer Joginder Singh, Darshan Singh, Ashwani Kumar and Joginder Singh, moved the Supreme Court against the verdict.
Now, Darshan Singh has been acquitted for insufficient evidence. Darshan Singh is related Jassi’s family as his daughter is married to her mama or maternal uncle. He was convicted on the basis of his frequent phone conversations with Jassi’s family in Canada. The Supreme Court said that it was not sufficient grounds to convict Darshan Singh.
But the life term against three others was upheld as they had accepted that they received contract money from Jassi’s family in Canada through a police official.
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision to keep his wife’s killers behind bars for life, Mithu said his struggle for justice will continue “till the persons who hired these contract killers face punishment. They are Malkiat Kaur and Surjit Badesha, mother and uncle of Jassi.’’
He said, “Malkiat Kaur had called us a few hours before the murder, saying she had accepted our marriage and would bless us soon. I want to come face to face with my mother-in-law and ask her if love was such a crime that she got her own daughter killed?”
Malkiat Kaur and Badesha face deportation to India to stand trial.