Sikh leader Ripudaman Singh Malik shot dead in Canada

He was acquitted in the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing and has recently shown support for the Modi government and called out the “orchestrated campaign” against India.

Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in 2005 for the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing that killed 331 people, has been shot dead in Surrey, BC, Canada, on Thursday morning.

Malik who was the founder of Khalsa school and Khalsa Credit Union was on his way to his work when he was shot by an unknown suspect. A witness in the 8200-block of 128 Street told CBC he heard three shots and that Malik was hit in the neck. 

As per reports in local Canadian media, RCMP were called to the Newton neighbourhood of Surrey, over reports of gunfire around 9:30 a.m. At the scene of the crime, RCMP found Malik who was in his mid-70s suffering from gunshot wounds. He was provided first aid by attending officers until Emergency Health Services took over. Const. Sarbjit Sangha said in a news release:

“The man was provided first aid by attending officers until Emergency Health Services took over his care. The injured man succumbed to his injuries on scene.”

- Advertisement -

Investigators of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team believe Malik’s shooting was preplanned and targeted. Police found a suspect vehicle in the 12200-block of 82 Avenue engulfed in fire and believe a second getaway vehicle may have been involved.

In 2019, Malik visited India after a gap of 25 years, and earlier this year he even wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for steps that the Indian government has taken for the Sikh community.

Malik had observed in his letter to PM Modi: “I am writing you this to express my deep heartfelt gratitude for the unprecedented positive steps taken by yourself to redress long-reading Sikh demands and grievances including the elimination of blacklists that restricted visit to India of thousands of Sikhs living abroad, grant of passports and visas to asylees and their families, reopening of hundreds of 1984-riots closed cases leading to conviction and jail term for some, declaring 1984-riots as ‘genocide’ by then Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh on the floor of the House, giving compensation or Rs. 5.00 lakh per family of the anti-Sikh genocide victims, the opening of Sri Kartarpur Saheb Corridor facilitating pilgrims from India to visit the revered place of our first Master Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”

In another letter to the Sikh community, Malik had urged them to desist from vicious and motivated campaign. He wrote: “Violence in Punjab only ends up hurting the interests of the Sikh community in Punjab and throughout India and around the world. I do my daily Ardaas for world peace as I do not like seeing my community or any community suffer due to violence.”

It is being reported that some people were critical of Malik offering his support to PM Modi. As Malik had also shown concern at an “orchestrated campaign” and propaganda run by certain Khalistanis at the behest of some foreign power against PM Modi and India. Malik had promised to work with the government of India for redressal of pending issues related to the welfare of the Sikh community.

Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh knew Malik from the 1970s and also did the legal work pro bono to help Malik set up his first two charities — the Satnam Trust and the Satnam Education Society. Dosanjh told local media that it is possible that Malik’s recent support of the Modi government could be a motive in the murder. He said:

“Whenever somebody is felled by violence, one is saddened. Mr. Malik ostensibly played with violence in his life and it has likely come back to haunt him.”

- Advertisement -

Malik came to Canada in 1972 and initially worked as a taxi driver. Later, as a businessman, he opened many Khalsa schools along with an apparel business, Papillion Eastern Imports, with combined assets worth over $110 million. He had spent four years in prison from 2000-2004 for his alleged involvement with Babbar Khalsa in the Kanishka bombing on charges of providing finance for the Khalistani terrorist attack.