VANCOUVER - A British Columbia man who received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal from the federal NDP while facing firearms charges says he deserves the recognition for raising $10 million for charity through his family's radio station.
Maninder Gill said Tuesday that New Democrat MP Jinny Sims awarded him the medal at a banquet hall in Surrey on the weekend and that about 30 others were also recognized for their community service.
Gill, 49, said the charges he faces stem from an August 2010 incident when he was attacked by what he called "Khalistani goons" with knives for his stance against Sikh extremism by people vying for a separate state carved out of India's northern province 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."
Gill, the managing director of the radio station, said he was exiting a temple with his wife, niece and daughter after giving a speech when the incident occurred and that he was acting in self-defence.
Two charges, including attempted murder, were dropped and he now faces "four or five minor charges," Gill said.
One man was shot in the leg during the incident outside the temple.
"I have been honoured by the provincial government.. . I've spent my whole life for raising money with radio-thons."
Gill said former premier Gordon Campbell recognized him in 2009 for his efforts to raise money for local hospitals and the victims of earthquakes in Pakistan and Haiti.
Sims said in a statement she was not aware of Gill's pending trial when she awarded him the medal.
"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," Sims said.
"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 issues has been adjudicated by the court system."
Thousands of people across Canada are being awarded Diamond Jubilee medals by MPs for their social contributions to mark the Queen's 60th anniversary on the throne.
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The Queen's Diamond Jubilee
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Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she receives flowers after the Sunday Service at West Newton Church on February 5, 2012 in West Newton.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) accepts flowers from well wishers as she leaves a church service at St Peters and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk on February 5, 2012.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and The Duke of Edinburgh leave a church service at St Peters and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk on February 5, 2012.
A general view of West Newton Church on February 5, 2012 in King's Lynn, England.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives for a Tree Planting ceremony in the Diamond Jubilee Wood on the Sandringham estate to mark her Diamond jubilee on February 3, 2012 in Sandringham, England. Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne on February 6, 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation took place on June 2, 1953.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (L) and her daughter Princess Anne, Princess Royal (R) attend an event in Jubilee Wood on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on February 3, 2012, to plant a tree to mark her diamond jubliee.
Queen Elizabeth II (R) meets guests including Alan Jones (C) during a reception held for members of the media to mark her Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace on November 28, 2011 in London, England.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets guests during a reception held by Queen Elizabeth II for members of the media to mark her Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace on November 28, 2011 in London, England.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets guests during a reception held by Queen Elizabeth II for members of the media.
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