Three individuals of Indian origin have been found guilty for the attempted murder of Harnek Singh, an Auckland-based Sikh radio jockey in New Zealand, known for his opposition to the Sikh Separatist ideology. The incident occurred on December 23, 2020, in Auckland’s Wattle Downs area, where Singh suffered over 40 stab wounds at the hands of the accused.
Following the attack, Singh underwent extensive medical treatment, including over 350 stitches to his head and upper body, along with multiple surgeries to address the inflicted wounds.
After nearly three years of legal proceedings, the first accused, Sukhpreet Singh (44), was convicted and received a six-month home detention sentence. The second accused, Sarvjeet Sidhu (27), was found guilty of knife assault and was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years of imprisonment.
The third accused, a 48-year-old resident of Auckland, has received one of the lengthiest prison sentences for attempted murder in New Zealand, with a punishment of 13-and-a-half years. This decision follows a series of hearings, during which the judge emphasised the need for community protection and a robust deterrent message in this particularly unusual case.
The judge’s observations included the acknowledgment that, despite not being present during the attack, the third accused held deep-seated resentment towards Harnek due to his political views and a perceived “liberal interpretation of Sikhism” over the course of several years.
The judge highlighted that the third accused meticulously planned the “hit,” leveraging his influence to enlist henchmen for the task, stating, “It bears all the hallmarks of religious fanaticism.” The judge emphasised the motivation behind the attack as an act committed in the pursuit of what was perceived as the “furtherance of the greater good.”
In a subsequent verdict, Jagraj Singh and Gurbinder Singh were acquitted in the case due to insufficient evidence, while Jobanpreet Singh and Hardeep Singh are awaiting sentencing.