News East West
TORONTO: During the final arguments at the extradition hearing for the mother and the uncle of Jassi Sidhu, who was murdered in Punjab in June 2000 for marrying a man against their wishes, the apex court in Vancouver on Tuesday heard how the two threatened Jassi’s husband with death if he didn’t end the relationship.
Jassi (Jaswinder) Sidhu, who was born at Maple Ridge near Vancouver, had secretly married lower-caste rickshaw driver Sukhwinder (Mithu) during her visit to her mother’s village in Punjab in 1999 before returning to Canada.
A year later when she went again 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.
While Mithu survived, Jassi, 25 then, was strangulated and her body thrown into a canal by the hired killers.
Punjab Police investigations confirmed it was an honour killing plotted by her mother Malkit Kaur Sidhu and uncle Surjit Singh Badesha sitting in Canada. Seven people were convicted for the murder.
Her mother and uncle, if deported to India, face trial for plotting her murder.
During the final arguments at the extradition hearing for Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha, the British Columbia supreme court on Tuesday heard how the two threatened Mithu and his family with death if he didn’t end the relationship with Jassi Sidhu..
The crown lawyer (the prosecution) representing the federal Attorney General Deborah Strachan told the court that Jassi Sidhu was put under surveillance and her bank account was frozen once her mother and uncle came to know of her secret marriage in India.
When assaults and pressure on Jassi to end the marriage with Mithu didn’t work, the pair (Jassi’s mother and uncle) went to India to threaten her husband (Mithu) to end the relationship.
“The evidence from the record of the case is that Mr. Badesha and Ms. Sidhu threatened Mithu on multiple occasions, telling him he would be killed because Jassi had married him against their wishes.’ They told him they were willing to spend any amount of money to have him killed,’’ the prosecution lawyer told the court.
“Ms. Sidhu told Mithu that she would make him disappear and that she would eliminate his family.’’
They also made threat calls to Mithu’s mother, said the lawyer, seeking their extradition to India to face trial.
But defence lawyer Michael Klein said that because of the intensive media focus on the media, Badesha has been wrongly identified by witnesses. He said testimonies from witnesses, including an RCMP officer and a former house tenant of Badesha, were not sufficient grounds to extradite his client to India.
David Crossin, lawyer for Jassi’s mother, too opposed her extradition because of insufficient evidence.