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British Sikh man, who was caught with a loaded crossbow attempting to kill Queen Elizabeth II for Jallianwala Bagh massacre, pleads guilty of treason

On 25 December 2021, 21-year-old Jaswant Singh Chail had gone to Windsor Castle in a hood and metal mask carrying a loaded crossbow and told a guard that he was there to kill the Queen

On Friday, February 4, a British Sikh man who wanted to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II on Christmas Day in 2021 admitted to committing treason. On Christmas day in 2021, he was caught on the grounds of Windsor Castle armed with a crossbow. The Queen was living in Windsor during that time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

21-year-old Jaswant Singh Chail said that he wanted to kill the Queen to take revenge for the infamous 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. A video of Chail who identified himself as an ‘Indian Sikh’ went viral on social media sometime after his arrest. 

At the Old Bailey court in London, Chail pleaded guilty to carrying a weapon with the intention of harming the monarch under section 2 of the United Kingdom’s Treason Act, 1842, threats to kill under Offences Against the Person Act and possession of an offensive weapon under Prevention of Crime Act. Chail is due to be sentenced on March 31st at the Old Bailey.

Commander Richard Smith, chief of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, who oversaw the case’s investigation, stated that although this was an extremely serious incident, the patrolling officers who caught Chail managed it with great professionalism.

On Christmas Day 2021, Chail, a resident of North Baddesley near Southampton, was apprehended outside Windsor Castle after he told a guard that he was going to kill the Queen. He was armed with a crossbow loaded with a bolt and was wearing a black hood and a metal mask. It was said that his appearance looked like something out of a vigilante movie. He had reached the gate by climbing into the grounds using a nylon rope ladder.

When he approached a royal protection officer and told him he was there to kill the Queen, the officers there quickly drew their tasers and told him to drop the crossbow. While they were arresting him, Chail again said, “I am here to kill the Queen.”

The crossbow he was carrying was a powerful air rifle that can cause fatal injury.

Photo of the crossbow released by Crown Prosecution Service

He was also carrying a handwritten note, which read, “Please don’t remove my clothes, shoes and gloves, masks etc, don’t want post-mortem, don’t want embalming, thank you and I’m sorry.”

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that before heading towards the castle, he had recorded a video of himself expressing his wish to harm the late Queen, which he shared with a group of contacts just before he was arrested.

“Further investigations into Chail revealed evidence of his planning and motives. Evidence recovered by officers showed that he harboured ill feelings towards the British Empire for its past treatment of Indian people,” the statement issued by police said.

Jaswant Singh Chail had sent the video to his Snapchat friends minutes before the break-in. In the video, a sinister hooded figure appeared with the crossbow speaking in a distorted voice while looking at the camera. The hooded figure said, “I will attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, Queen of the royal family. This is revenge for those who have died in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre,” adding, “It is also revenge for those who have been killed, humiliated and discriminated on because of their race. I’m an Indian Sikh, a Sith. My name was Jaswant Singh Chail, my name is Darth Jones.” Darth is a title assumed by Sith Lords who waged wars against the Jedi Knights in the popular Star Wars series.

Besides, there was a small message along with the Snapchat video that read, “I’m sorry to all of those who I have wronged or lied to.” adding, “If you have received this then my death is near. Please share this with whoever and if possible get it to the news if they’re interested.”

The investigation was prioritised by detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, who searched through CCTV and conducted other searches to discover that Chail, from Southampton in Hampshire, had been to Windsor in Berkshire on December 23, 2021.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre

The British atrocity at Jallianwala Bagh is among the bloodiest events in Indian history. According to British government records, a British General’s ruthless massacre at Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh resulted in 379 unarmed Indian deaths and 1100 injuries. According to other estimates, the massacre resulted in up to 1000 deaths and over 1500 Indians left injured. Without giving any warning, Brigadier General Dyer ordered to open fire on April 13, 1919, on the unarmed people gathered in the field to celebrate Baisakhi because they disobeyed his orders not to step out.

The reason for the gathering as per some accounts was to protest against the arrest and deportation of two leaders Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. Other accounts suggest that many of those who were present were unaware of the martial law order which banned gatherings in Amritsar.

While British records indicate that the massacre resulted in 379 deaths a report by a committee headed by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya recorded the deaths to be over 500. 

A month before the massacre, the Rowlatt Act passed on March 10, 1919, gave the government the power to detain or imprison anyone linked to seditious activities without a court trial. This caused discontent across the nation.

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