Indian-Canadian Man Gets Queen’s Medal Despite Gun Accusation
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 13, 2013 10:54 PM EST
Maninder Gill, an Indian-born Canadian citizen, Sunday received one of 60,000 Queen's Diamond Jubilee medals though he is in a row to go on trial on gun charges in connection with a shooting in August, 2010.
In 2010, Gill was charged with possessing an unauthorized gun after firing and wounding a fellow Indian-Canadian, Harjit Singh Atwal.
The Vancouver Sun reported that Gill was awarded the Queen's medal for raising $10 million for charity through his family's radio called "Radio India." The award of the Queen's medal to Maninder Gill has become controversial.
Defending the award, Maninder said that he deserved the recognition for raising the charity money.
"I have been honored by the provincial government... I've spent my whole life for raising money with radio-thons," said Gill, according to the Vancouver Sun.
While saying that he deserves the award for raising the charity money, Maninder Gill said that the charges he faced were from the 2010 incident when he was attacked by "Khalistani goons" for opposing the Sikh extremists' demand for a separate state out of Indian state of Punjab.
"This issue is only from Khalistani goons. I always speak against people who want an independent state in India. These are local people," the newspaper quoted Gill as saying.
New Democrat MP Jinny Sims, who gave Gill the honorary award, said that he didn't know about the criminal charges against the Indian-born Canadian citizen.
"I recognize the seriousness of the crime he has been accused of committing and apologize to those who were offended that he was presented with the medal," the New Democrat MP apologized to the public, according to the newspaper.
"The Canadian legal system treats everyone fairly by ensuring that each accused person is considered to be innocent until they are found to be guilty in a court of law. It is therefore my responsibility to reserve making any other comments until this issue has been adjudicated by the court system."
Gill turned himself in following the incident and the Surrey police department charged him with possessing an unauthorized firearm and two counts of discharging a firearm with intent.
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