Indo-Canadian Man Shot To Death In Punjab Over Land Dispute

Harinder Singh Sran, a Canadian citizen and married father of two who owns his own cab and has driven for Unicity taxi for the last 25 years in Winnipeg, was killed by corrupt Punjab police criminals at the behest of Sran’s sister-in-law

WINNIPEG – Police in India are investigating the shooting death Tuesday of a Winnipeg cab driver who was visiting Punjab.

Harinder Singh Sran, 46, a Canadian citizen and married father of two who owns his own cab and has driven for Unicity taxi for the last 25 years in Winnipeg, was killed by corrupt Punjab police criminals at the behest of Sran’s sister-in-law

“It’s a big shocker,” said Sran’s cousin in Winnipeg, Jasmeen Kalar..

Sran’s widow, his son, 19, and daughter, 21, who both attend the University of Manitoba, have gone to India for his funeral, Kalar told Winnipeg Free Press.

After working long hours driving a cab, Sran went for a holiday to India with his parents and brother on March 30, Kalar said. He was also attempting to help two of his female cousins from Winnipeg and B.C. resolve a land dispute in their ancestral village, Kaliye Wala village in Moga.

The women had been in Punjab since September trying to maintain ownership of their late brother’s 27-acre farm, Kalar said.

Sran was killed Tuesday, the same day the Canadians had registered a criminal complaint against three local people whom they said prepared a “fake” will laying claim to the farm, Punjab news media reported. One of those named in the complaint was the wife of the Canadian women’s brother, who died several years ago. The Tribune reported Baljinder Kaur, of Kaliye Wala village in Moga, claimed as her own the land her two Canadian sisters-in-law received as part of their ancestral parental property.

She allegedly prepared a fake will to get the land transferred in her name, claiming it was bequeathed to her by her father-in-law, the newspaper said.

The Canadian sisters filed a complaint against her, alleging the will was a fabricated document. They and their cousin Sran were on the land in dispute when he was shot and killed.

Police have reportedly questioned 11 people in connection with the homicide, including the sister-in-law against whom the Canadians had filed a criminal complaint.

Kalar said if the courts in the area had taken the Canadian women seriously, the land dispute would have been settled and her cousin would be alive.

“No one was listening to them,” said Kalar, who works as an auditor at an accounting firm.

‘It’s so sad. His life is gone just because of the land’

She described Sran as hardworking, generous and kind.

“He was really friendly, and he really cared about people — a nice person. If he met you once, he’d always remember you and acknowledge you. He was the happiest person I’ve ever seen. He always had a smile on his face.”

A memorial service for him won’t be held in Winnipeg until his family and relatives return from India, she said.

Kalar said they’re hoping those responsible for his death are brought to justice.

She said the family is trying to find out what, if anything, the Canadian government can do to see that justice is done.

Foreign Affairs is looking into Sran’s death, but no one was available to comment Sunday.

“It’s so sad,” said Amarjeet Warraich, president of the Manitoba Sikh Senior and Cultural Centre that runs the Punjab Cultural Centre on King Edward Street in Winnipeg.

Land disputes involving Canadians with property in Punjab aren’t uncommon, said Warraich, a Winnipeg businessman with an ancestral home there he still visits.

Police in Punjab have set up a special unit to handle such disputes with non-resident Indians.

However, a Canadian being killed over such a dispute is rare, said Warraich, who didn’t know Sran but said he feels sad for his loved ones.

“His life is gone just because of the land.”

The Punjab Police have terminated the services of its four officials in Sran’s murder.

Among those dismissed are Inspector Bhola Singh (posted at the crime branch in Chandigarh), and staff SHO Kuljinder Singh, Sub-Inspector Guljinder Singh and ASI Bhag Mal, all posted at Moga police station (rural). The action was taken over “negligence” in duty and the quartet’s alleged involvement in the crime.

The police had registered an FIR against Inspector Bhola Singh, victim’s sister-in-law (brother’s wife) Baljinder Kaur and nine others on the charges of murder. There was reportedly a dispute between the NRI and his sister-in-law over a plot, which was in the possession of the victim for the past several years.

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