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Avtar Singh Khanda: Funeral of Khalistan activist Avtar Singh Khanda to be held in UK on August 5


LONDON: The funeral of Khalistan activist Avtar Singh Khanda, who allegedly groomed Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, will be held at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick in Britain on August 5.

Sikh Press Association (PA) announced on Monday that the funeral will start with “darshan” at the gurdwara followed by a service at Sandwell crematorium. Then there will be “Sri Sehaj Paat Bhog” and “antim ardaas” followed by “Remembrance Smagam”. Khanda died on June 15 at Birmingham City Hospital from terminal blood can-cer. However, his supporters allege he was assassinated via poisoning. Khanda’s relatives in India failed to get his body repatriated to Punjab. His mother Charanjit Kaur and sister Jaspreet Kaur, who live in Moga, Punjab, have been denied visas to come to the UK for his last rites, according to Sikh PA.

TOI was unable to confirm it with the home office without having the visa application reference numbers. Jaspreet had earlier filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court, seeking for permission for her brother’s body to be brought to India for cremation. However, the central government told the court it does not have proof to establish Khanda’s Indian citizenship. Sikh PA wrote on X: “The suddenness of Avtar Singh’s death on June 15 led to suspicions he was poisoned. Countless pro-Hindu nationalist social media accounts celebrated his death and attributed it to Indian intelligence services. It has now been revealed efforts for a full independent autopsy were not supported by UK authorities. The UK has also denied his mother and sister entry into England for his funeral.” In response to a query from TOI, whether there will be an inquest or postmortem, Louise Hunt HM senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, said: “In accordance with the chief coroner’s Guidance No. 25 ‘Coroners and the Media’ we have no information to provide on this matter.” It is not clear what that means, but Point 86 of the guidance states: “Where a death is reported to the coroner (in the usual way) and the coroner concludes inquiries into the death without commencing a formal investigation (and therefore no inquest or other hearing is held), the coroner will not normally release any details to the media.”

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