Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu
|Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu|
4 August 1975|
Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
|Died||8 June 2000
Kaonke Khosa, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, also known as Jassi (August 4, 1975 – June 8, 2000) was a beautician in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, who was murdered in an alleged honor killing. She was kidnapped, tortured, and killed allegedly on the orders of her mother, Malkiat Kaur Sidhu and her uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha, near Kaonke Khosa, Ludhiana, Punjab, India.
On a visit to the city of Jagraon, Ludhiana in the Punjab state of India in December 1994, Jassi met and fell in love with Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu (nicknamed Mithu), a rickshaw driver. They kept in touch over the next four years. In 1999, Jassi made another trip to India with her family. This trip was for the purpose of arranging a marriage for her. Instead, she and Sukhwinder married secretly on March 15, 1999. Her family strongly disapproved of this marriage, supposedly because he was of a lower status than she, and they attempted to persuade her to get a divorce by beating her and offering to buy her a car. When those attempts were futile, her family persuaded her to sign a form, falsely telling her that by signing, they would help Sukhwinder come to Canada. Instead, the form was filled with accusations against Sukhwinder. When Jassi discovered that she had been betrayed, she faxed a letter to the Indian Officials stating that the accusations in the form sent earlier were false. Her mother and uncle were arrested on January 6, 2012.
Kidnapping and murder
Jassi escaped from her family confinement with help from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who escorted her from the residence. She got money from a friend to buy a plane ticket, and flew to India on May 12, 2000, to reunite with Sukhwinder. On June 8, Jassi and Sukhwinder were kidnapped by killers hired by her uncle. Sukhwinder was violently beaten and left to die, while Jassi was taken to an abandoned farmhouse where she was murdered. On June 9, 2000, her body, with the throat slit, was found dumped in an irrigation canal 45 km from Kaonke Khosa. The killers were in contact with her mother and uncle by phone, and it was determined by Indian Police that the order to kill Jassi was given by her mother.
Seven of the killers were tried and convicted, the result of an aggressive investigation by Inspector Swaran Singh. Attempts have been made to extradite Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha from Canada to India to stand trial, but the extradition has been stonewalled by Canadian and British Columbia authorities. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice will only say that the file remains active. Former British Columbia Attorney General Geoff Plant, when interviewed by an NBC reporter, had little to say about the case.
Sukhwinder was accused of rape in August 2004 and was incarcerated in the Ludhiana Central Jail for four years until he was acquitted. The woman who made the accusation is connected to Jassi's family. Harbinder Sewak, the publisher of The South Asian Post newspaper in Vancouver, BC, intervened on behalf of Mithu, hiring lawyers to fight his case and free him from jail. The newspaper was recognised for its crusading journalism through a Jack Webster Award for Best Community Reporting in 2008 for this action. After his acquittal, Sukhwinder was elected panch of Kaunke Khosa.
The story of Jassi and Sukhwinder is the subject of Murder Unveiled, a made-for-TV movie. A petition website Justice for Jassi archiving her story and dedicated to obtaining justice for her has been signed by thousands of people worldwide. A book by the same name, Justice for Jassi, written by Province, from Deputy Editor Fabian Dawson and South Asian Post publisher Harbinder Sewak, was released at the end of 2011, just prior to her mother and uncle being charged. This murder case was also featured in CBC Television's The Fifth Estate.
After a long investigation, Jassi's mother and uncle were arrested by the RCMP on January 6, 2012 – eleven years after Jassi's murder. They are currently awaiting an extradition hearing.
- DeNeen L. Brown; Rama Lakshmi (October 5, 2003). "Mom gave long-distance order for honor killing, police say". Washington Post. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- "The Murdered Bride". the fifth estate. CBC News. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- ""Forbidden Love" Triggers Outrage". South Asian Post. January 25, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- "India waits as RCMP probe plods on". Vancouver Province. March 7, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- "The 2008 Jack Webster Awards Winners". The Jack Webster Foundation. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- Lazaruk, Susan (January 8, 2012). "Mother, uncle arrested for Jassi Sidhu slaying". The Province. Retrieved February 1, 2012.