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Canada Suspect Sought In Guru Nanak Temple Shooting

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
August 29, 2010
Suspect sought in Guru Nanak Temple shooting

By Anna Mehler Paperny
From Monday's Globe and Mail

Prominent Surrey contractor wounded in the leg in targeted shooting at Sikh wedding

Police are seeing a suspect in a targeted weekend shooting in one of North America's largest Sikh temples.
Police were called to Guru Nanak Temple in Surrey around 12:40 p.m. Saturday, where hundreds of people had gathered for a wedding hosted by local home appraiser Kultar Dhott.

Festivities were interrupted by gunshots coming from the temple parking lot. Responding to a flood of calls, Surrey RCMP arrived to find a man shot in the leg. He was rushed to the hospital and was stable but still hospitalized on Sunday.

Witnesses and friends say the man was 54-year-old Harjit Singh Atwal - a prominent Surrey contractor.

Minutes later, police cars surrounded the offices for Radio India and the lavish Surrey home of its general manager Maninder Singh Gill, where they blocked off the road and approached his house at the end of the 56th Street cul-de-sac with guns at the ready.

\Suzanne Dennis, who has lived on the street for decades, arrived home Saturday afternoon to see the street cordoned off with yellow tape, and a pair of police vehicles blocking off the avenue for hours before leaving.

RCMP, who say the shooting was targeted, have not confirmed that Mr. Gill is a person of interest in the case and will say only that they are seeking a single male suspect and a white, newer-model four-door sedan seen leaving the scene. No arrests had been made or charges laid by Sunday evening.

But Gurpreet Singh, a newscaster at the Punjabi Radio India, says he has been in touch with Mr. Gill's family and believes his boss is the alleged shooter police are seeking.

Mr. Singh says the shooting is the result of a continuing feud he traces to an April visit to B.C. by Punjabi government minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan. An apparent insult directed at the minister by a man close to Mr. Atwal sparked an acrimonious barrage between Mr. Atwal and the radio station, Mr. Singh says.

Mr. Singh says does not know what happened to escalate a parking-lot argument into a shootout outside the temple, but said he thinks Mr. Gill would have fired only in self-defence.

"He's a very easygoing person; he doesn't lose his temper so easily," he said. "I can only speculate. Whatever I have heard is that people were trying to attack him and he acted in self-defence."

Mr. Gill, who has been called the "czar of Punjabi entertainment," has run Radio India since 1999, after making a name for himself as a promoter of Punjabi culture and music in Surrey.

Mr. Atwal is a former member of the militant International Youth Sikh Federation, a group he has since denounced. He campaigned earlier this year to get his name taken off blacklists the Indian government reserves for separatist groups, arguing he hasn't been involved in Khalistan (Sikh homeland) politics for years.

A spate of violence in Sikh temples in B.C. and Ontario earlier this year - at least one of which involved a kirpan, the ceremonial dagger worn by Khalsa Sikhs - renewed debate over religious extremism, and the risks that the actions of a tiny minority would tarnish perceptions of thousands of others.

But witnesses and community members emphasize this has more to do with personal arguments than religious politics. Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara was quick to distance itself from Saturday's shooting; the mother of Saturday's groom, who answered the phone at Mr. Dhott's Surrey home Sunday, said she and others inside the temple at the time have no idea what sparked the conflict.

"As far as we understand, it was a personal dispute that unfortunately found its way into the Gurdwara parking lot," said a statement released on behalf of temple president Bikramjit Singh Sandhar. "This event or the individuals involved have no connection with this Gurdwara and the Gurdwara strongly condemns this and every act of violence."
source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/suspect-sought-in-guru-nanak-temple-shooting/article1689558/


Shooting outside temple believed related to feud between businessmen, radio station

By Kim Bolan And Todd Coyne, Vancouver Sun - August 30, 2010

A simmering feud between a Surrey radio station and two local businessmen turned violent Saturday when one of the men was shot in the leg outside the Guru Nanak temple.

Contractor Harjit Singh Atwal, 54, remained in hospital Sunday, recovering from a bullet wound to his thigh after the shooting in the temple parking lot about 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Surrey RCMP have not publicly identified the suspect or made any arrest.

But police did visit the Surrey offices of Radio India Saturday looking for managing director Maninder Singh Gill.

Atwal, an associate named Jaspal Atwal (no relation) and a third man, Harkirat Kular, filed a civil suit against Gill, Radio India and several of its journalists last month in relation to broadcasts in May they said were untrue and defamatory, according to a 16-page statement of claim obtained by The Vancouver Sun.

And Gill and Radio India host Sukhminder Singh Cheema have filed complaints with the police over the past three months, claiming they have been threatened.

Radio India journalist Gurpreet Singh said Sunday that the dispute began after Radio India reported on an incident April 15 during which Jaspal Atwal is alleged to have threatened a local leader of the Akali Dal party, Balbir Chingiara, outside a news conference of a visiting Punjabi cabinet minister from the same party.

Online court records show a charge of uttering threats was sworn against Jaspal Atwal on April 16 in Surrey in relation to an incident a day earlier. He was released on $5,000 bail and is due back in Surrey Provincial Court on Sept. 7.

"When we reported this whole incident, from then on there has been tension between Radio India and the Atwals," Singh said.
Singh was not at the temple when the shooting took place, so had only heard second-hand reports.

"Police did come to Radio India yesterday, but not today," Singh said Sunday. He said they were looking for Gill, who was not there.

Both Atwals were at Guru Nanak Saturday for a large wedding, attended by close to 1,000 guests. Gill was also there with his family.

Several wedding guests told The Sun that an argument inside the temple was followed by four shots fired in the parking lot outside.

Surrey RCMP Insp. Steve Wade said Saturday that "the shooting was targeted rather than a random act of violence."

"It was a relatively minor injury as far as gunshots go."

Wade said first responders found Atwal sitting on a couch behind the temple when they arrived. He was able to walk and talk and was taken immediately to an area hospital, Wade said.

Guru Nanak officials said in a statement that the shooting had absolutely nothing to do with the wedding or the temple and was an "isolated incident."

"As far as we understand, it was a personal dispute that unfortunately found its way into the Gurdwara [temple] parking lot," the statement said.

"This event or the individuals involved have no connection with this Gurdwara and the Gurdwara strongly condemns this and every act of violence."

kbolan@{censored}; tcoyne@{censored}

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

source: http://www.{censored}/news/Shooting+outside+temple+believed+related+feud+between+businessmen+radio/3459278/story.html
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Radio India managing director facing charges after Surrey wedding shooting

By BY KIM BOLAN, VANCOUVER SUN - August 30, 2010 3:14 PM

Radio India managing director Maninder Gill is facing a series of firearms charges in connection with a weekend shooting that left a rival in hospital.

Surrey RCMP media officer, Const. Peter Neilly, confirmed Monday that Gill turned himself in and has been charged with two counts of discharging a firearm, one each of pointing a firearm, possession of a firearm for a dangerous purpose and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

Gill, 47, allegedly shot Harjit Atwal, 54, in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh temple at 7050 120th Street early Saturday afternoon.

Atwal was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Gill left the scene, but was arrested Monday and is expected to make his first appearance in Surrey Provincial Court Tuesday.

"After interviewing witnesses at the scene, a suspect was identified in this matter. An intensive investigation was undertaken in the hours following the incident," Neilly said. "Investigators from the Surrey RCMP forwarded a request to Crown Counsel for charges and an arrest warrant was issued for the arrest of the suspect."

Neily said that he wouldn't provide additional details because the case is now before the courts.

He did say "this shooting was not a random incident. The involved parties were known to each other."


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

source: http://www.{censored}/news/Radio+India+managing+director+facing+charges+after+Surrey+wedding/3461437/story.html

Mai Harinder Kaur

Oct 5, 2006
British Columbia, Canada
This article has a few new facts in it, along with some distortions and gossip. I am also including pictures of the involved: Gill the shooter and Atwal the shot. Both are in the photos for this article.

Shooting suspect, victim have history of bad blood

Radio India owner Maninder Gill has now been charged in a targeted shooting at a wedding over the weekend after turning himself in to police in Surrey, B.C.
One man suffered a non-life threatening bullet wound his upper thigh after shots were fired in the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Saturday afternoon. Police say the gunplay began after an argument between two men, who were known to each other.
The temple was hosting a wedding ceremony attended by hundreds at the time.
Multiple witnesses told CTV News on Saturday that the victim was local businessman Harjit Atwal, who had a long-standing dispute with Gill over a series of inflammatory broadcasts made on his radio station.
An arrest warrant was issued for Gill, 47, who turned himself in to RCMP on Monday. He is now charged with pointing a firearm, possessing a weapon for dangerous purposes, two counts of discharging a firearm with intent and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

Gill-Atwal dispute hits the courts
In a civil lawsuit filed Aug. 3 at B.C. Supreme Court, Atwal and two other men accuse Gill, Radio India, and several radio station employees of defamation.
The suit says that in a Punjabi-language broadcast on May 14, Radio India described Atwal as "an expert in uttering threats against people."
The broadcast also implied that Atwal's sons are both involved in stealing cars, and that Atwal is part of the militant Khalistan movement, which has often resorted to violence in a bid to create a Sikh homeland.
A second broadcast on May 21 asserted that Atwal, "has been charged by the police in many beating incidents."
On the same day, a third broadcast described Atwal as "a Khalistani rascal," and said that he incites fights at Sikh temples and has served a year in jail for a shooting.
It goes on to say that," one of Harjit Atwal's wives has left him because of his actions and became a homosexual while the other is half of his age."
Atwal contends in the lawsuit that none of the claims made by Radio India are true, and were intended to "cause serious harm, stress, embarrassment, insult and ridicule."
None of the allegations in the suit have been proven in court.
Police have acknowledged that Gill has come to them asking for protection, but won't say what triggered Saturday's violence.

Past troubles at the same temple
The temple, considered one of the largest in North America, made headlines in 1997 when a power struggle between traditionalist and moderate Sikhs escalated into violence.
The ideological clash was over the use of tables and chairs in the temple dining hall.
The temple was also the focus of two hotly contested temple elections, the second of which was ordered after voter irregularities were discovered.


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