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Canadian Sikh community in shock after Edmonton shooting

Buta Singh Gill, the president of a gurdwara and owner of a construction firm, was shot dead in Canada. The shooter, identified as a roofer who had worked for Gill's company in the past, also took his own life. Gill, described as "a loving family man and dedicated community member", immigrated to Canada in 1991 and built a successful business

Canadian Sikh community in shock after Edmonton shooting
First Published Apr 10, 2024, 7:22 AM IST

Buta Singh Gill, president of a gurdwara and owner of a construction firm, was fatally shot in Edmonton, Canada. The killing, which has sent shockwaves across the Canadian Sikh community, occurred near a construction site in Edmonton's Millwoods area. Gill, the proprietor of Gill Built Homes Ltd, fell victim to the violence that has been suspected to involve Indian gangsters operating in Canada.

Reports from Canada suggest a disturbing trend where Indian gangsters have allegedly collaborated with pro-Khalistan groups to extort money from affluent Canadians of Indian origin. This incident follows the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the president of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, designated as a terrorist by India, nearly 10 months ago.

Edmonton authorities have previously hinted at the involvement of a criminal network operating from India, targeting affluent individuals of Indian origin residing in Canada. 

Investigations earlier this year revealed 27 incidents, including extortions, arsons, and firearms offenses, suspected to be linked to this criminal syndicate. Extortion attempts, often made through messaging apps like WhatsApp, have demanded payments ranging from C$100,000 to several million dollars.

However, family spokesperson Varinder Bhullar dismissed any connection to the ongoing extortions targeting South Asian homebuilders.

According to the family, the shooter, identified as a roofer who had previously worked for Gill's company, is responsible for Gill's death.

Family spokesperson Varinder Bhullar expressed profound grief over Gill's passing, emphasizing that his absence will be deeply felt within the community. "No one can fill up his shoes. We'll try to walk on the path that he has paved for all of us. It's just too sad, heartbreaking," Bhullar lamented on Tuesday.

Detailing Gill's journey, Bhullar highlighted his immigration to Canada in 1991, where he initially worked at a meat processing plant and later with the Edmonton Transit Service before establishing his own company. Gill was described as a devoted father and grandfather, dedicated to serving his community. Bhullar emphasized the significance of Gill's life, particularly in his role as a family man, cherishing moments with his newborn grandchildren.

Eyewitnesses recounted the tragic event, with one witness recalling seeing the shooter firing into the driver-side window of a black car, resulting in injuries to Sarbjeet Singh, an engineer and site supervisor at Gill Built Homes, who is currently hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

While the family spokesperson confirmed Singh's stable condition post-surgery, another witness alleged that after injuring Singh, the assailant fatally shot Gill before taking his own life.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi mourned Gill's loss, acknowledging their past collaboration at ETS and praising Gill's role as a community leader. "He was one of the volunteers as a leader in bringing the community together in various ways. So it is a devastating loss for the family and for the community," Sohi stated. "We have lost not only a very successful business person, but we also lost a champion of the community."

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