Press Release: Maori TV
MONDAY NOVEMBER 13 2006
Murdered Bride Unveiled on Maori Television
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale inspired by the real-life ‘honour killing’ of a young Indian woman is the basis of both a movie and a documentary screening on Maori Television.
MURDER UNVEILED is the Sunday Feature, Kiriata Ratapu, on Sunday November 19 at 9.00 PM, while THE FIFTH ESTATE: MURDERED BRIDE is the International Documentary, Pakipumeka o te Ao, on Tuesday November 21 at 8.30 PM.
Both focus on the brutal murder of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, known as Jassi to her friends, in India in June 2000. The popular 25-year-old South Asian Canadian was punished because she went against her family’s wishes and married the man she loved – Sukhwinder ‘Mithu’ Singh, a poor auto-rickshaw driver.
Police say her desperate pleas to her family in Canada over the phone while she was being beaten by contract killers at an abandoned farmhouse were ignored. Shortly after Jassi's body was found with its throat slit, Indian police alleged that family members, including her mother and uncle in British Columbia, paid thugs up to $50,000 for the murder.
So far only the secondary players in the crime – seven of them including an Indian police officer and another of Jassi’s uncles – have been convicted after a trial that spanned five years. They told the court they were hired for the deadly retaliation. Another four accused were acquitted.
However, the alleged masterminds, Jassi’s mother and uncle in Maple Ridge, remain free despite being charged with murder by Indian authorities in 2000. The order to kill, Indian police say, “came from Canada” and they have revised their extradition requests to Canada at least four times.
The wealthy and connected Maple Ridge farming family denies any involvement in the incident but has acknowledged that they opposed the marriage on cultural grounds.
In the meantime, Jassi’s husband Mithu – who was left for dead by the assailants – is languishing in an Indian jail on charges that he raped another woman. There is strong evidence that he was framed by parties involved in Jassi’s murder to extract revenge.
In 2001, Canada's leading investigative documentary programme, The Fifth Estate, went to India to investigate Jassi's murder and produced an award-winning documentary while the 2005 movie is also inspired by the modern day Romeo and Juliet story complete with betrayal, treachery, torture, kidnapping and murder.
MURDER UNVEILED is Maori Television’s Sunday Feature, Kiriata Ratapu, on Sunday November 19 at 9.00 PM, followed by THE FIFTH ESTATE: MURDERED BRIDE in the International Documentary slot, Pakipumeka o te Ao, on Tuesday November 21 at 8.30 PM.