Shooting suspect, victim have history of bad blood
Radio India owner Maninder Gill has now been charged in a targeted shooting at a wedding over the weekend after turning himself in to police in Surrey, B.C.
One man suffered a non-life threatening bullet wound his upper thigh after shots were fired in the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Saturday afternoon. Police say the gunplay began after an argument between two men, who were known to each other.
The temple was hosting a wedding ceremony attended by hundreds at the time.
Multiple witnesses told CTV News on Saturday that the victim was local businessman Harjit Atwal, who had a long-standing dispute with Gill over a series of inflammatory broadcasts made on his radio station.
An arrest warrant was issued for Gill, 47, who turned himself in to RCMP on Monday. He is now charged with pointing a firearm, possessing a weapon for dangerous purposes, two counts of discharging a firearm with intent and unauthorized possession of a firearm.
Gill-Atwal dispute hits the courts
In a civil lawsuit filed Aug. 3 at B.C. Supreme Court, Atwal and two other men accuse Gill, Radio India, and several radio station employees of defamation.
The suit says that in a Punjabi-language broadcast on May 14, Radio India described Atwal as "an expert in uttering threats against people."
The broadcast also implied that Atwal's sons are both involved in stealing cars, and that Atwal is part of the militant Khalistan movement, which has often resorted to violence in a bid to create a Sikh homeland.
A second broadcast on May 21 asserted that Atwal, "has been charged by the police in many beating incidents."
On the same day, a third broadcast described Atwal as "a Khalistani rascal," and said that he incites fights at Sikh temples and has served a year in jail for a shooting.
It goes on to say that," one of Harjit Atwal's wives has left him because of his actions and became a homosexual while the other is half of his age."
Atwal contends in the lawsuit that none of the claims made by Radio India are true, and were intended to "cause serious harm, stress, embarrassment, insult and ridicule."
None of the allegations in the suit have been proven in court.
Police have acknowledged that Gill has come to them asking for protection, but won't say what triggered Saturday's violence.
Past troubles at the same temple
The temple, considered one of the largest in North America, made headlines in 1997 when a power struggle between traditionalist and moderate Sikhs escalated into violence.
The ideological clash was over the use of tables and chairs in the temple dining hall.
The temple was also the focus of two hotly contested temple elections, the second of which was ordered after voter irregularities were discovered.