Home /  News /  New Zealand India

Revealed: Auckland Religious Leader Plotted Murder Attempt On Sikh Radio Host

Auckland-based Sikh religious leader Gurinderpal Brar was last year found guilty of orchestrating the knife attack on radio host Harnek Singh (inset). Photo: NZ Herald / Jason Oxenham

After a period of name suppression, it can now be revealed that Gurinderpal Brar, known as "Baba Ji" by his followers, was the mastermind behind a failed plot to murder an internationally renowned radio host in South Auckland, The New Zealand Herald reported. Brar, who led two popular Sikh temples in Auckland and had a large following, is currently serving a 13-and-a-half-year prison sentence for attempted murder.

Co-defendant Jobanpreet Singh, described as a devoted follower and also in love with Brar's daughter, is awaiting sentencing.

The plot unfolded in December 2020 when Harnek Singh, the radio host, was ambushed by Singh and others as he returned home from a broadcast at a Sikh temple in Papatoetoe. Singh honked his car horn for help before being stabbed more than 40 times.




During the trial, jurors were reminded of Brar's high-ranking status among New Zealand's Sikh community, particularly among the more fundamentalist followers. Brar, originally a truck driver from India, had built a significant following over the years, starting with prayer groups in his living room and eventually establishing two temples.

Prosecutors described Brar as having an influential reach beyond New Zealand, with followers around the world who would sometimes pay for his travel to preach to them. He was known to describe himself as being like a saint, inspiring devotion and obedience.

While Brar's identity had been suppressed during the trial to protect his fair-trial rights for unrelated assault charges, suppression was lifted after he pleaded guilty to those charges. These charges stemmed from incidents in 2015 where Brar assaulted three congregation members, using tree branches and a metal kitchen utensil.

Although Brar was not present during the attack on Harnek Singh, prosecutors argued that he was the central figure behind the plot, using his influence to recruit others to carry out the attack. They described him as a man whose success and ego had grown rapidly, leading him to expect followers to touch his feet and exerting considerable control over their lives.

Despite receiving a 13-and-a-half-year sentence, Justice Mark Woolford ordered a minimum period of imprisonment of nine years before Brar could apply for parole, citing the need to protect the community from violent religious fanaticism.

Brar's followers filled the courtroom during his sentencing, many bowing to him as he was led off to begin his sentence.

Related Posts