Conservative Member of Parliament corresponds with the Secretary of State for the Home Department regarding the unexpected passing of a prominent Sikh activist.

A Sikh activist, Avtar Singh Khanda, passed away at the same time as alleged Indian plots to target Sikh activists in North America.

Neil O’Brien, a senior Conservative MP and former minister, has written a letter expressing his concerns to James Cleverly, the home secretary, regarding Khanda’s sudden death in Birmingham earlier this year.

The Guardian recently reported that West Midlands police did not fully investigate Khanda’s death, contrary to their previous claims.

O’Brien’s letter, which has been seen by The Guardian, states: “I have been deeply troubled by ongoing media reports about Avtar Singh Khanda’s death. West Midlands police initially stated that they had investigated the death of this 35-year-old.

“However, it seems that his family is worried that the police did not take statements from friends or family, did not speak with his employers or colleagues, did not retrace his steps before his sudden illness, did not visit his residence, did not examine the threats made against him, and did not assign a case number to indicate an investigation had taken place.”

He further adds, “If this is accurate, could we inquire with West Midlands police about the nature of their investigation, if any steps were taken besides the aforementioned?”

The Home Office did not provide a response to the request for comment.

Khanda was a prominent campaigner for an independent Sikh state known as Khalistan, a movement that India views as a growing threat to its territorial integrity.

In recent months, both the Americans and Canadians have accused Indian operatives of attempting to assassinate Khalistani activists around the time of Khanda’s death last summer.

In June, Khanda was admitted to Birmingham’s Sandwell hospital due to illness and pain. It was there that he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer, and passed away two days later.

Although his death was officially registered as natural, Khanda’s friends and family have long suspected foul play and have called for a formal inquest to be conducted.

For months, West Midlands police asserted that they had conducted a thorough review of the death and found no suspicious circumstances. Cabinet ministers also referred to the police review when questioned by constituents.

However, The Guardian revealed last year that the police did not perform typical investigative actions, such as interviewing Khanda’s family or assigning a case number. Instead, the police claimed to have referred the matter to the coroner, concluding that no foul play was involved.

O’Brien’s letter marks the first significant intervention by a senior British politician in the case, putting additional pressure on ministers to conduct a more thorough investigation into Khanda’s death. As the MP for Harborough, O’Brien represents one of the largest Sikh constituencies in the country.

In his letter, O’Brien states, “While I cannot personally assess the facts of this case, it is concerning that the grieving family of this young man feels that his death has not been adequately investigated. This undoubtedly makes it challenging for them to find closure.”

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