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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Now, foreign funds fuel Khalistan cause

Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 07, 2013
First Published: 00:08 IST(7/4/2013) | Last Updated: 09:51 IST(7/4/2013)

Exactly two decades after the Khalistan movement for a separate Sikh nation got trounced, big funds from European countries, North America and Canada are pouring into India to fund the revival of the secessionist movement, latest inputs based on intelligence and technical surveillance have strongly indicated.

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"Operatives based in the UK, Germany and North America, who are members of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and its front organisations, are transferring huge amounts of monetary resources to BKI sleeper cells in Punjab and other places," a senior home ministry official told HT.

BKI is the oldest and the most well-organised Khalistani outfit that has set up a robust network in US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and Pakistan. Besides the ISI of Pakistan, it has close ties with the terror network of wanted Mumbai gangster, who is now based in Karachi, Dawood Ibrahim.

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In what officials called the tip of the iceberg, in just three months - en November 2012 and January 2013 - more than R1.2 crore has been transferred to people in India who allegedly back the movement.

The funds are distributed through intermediaries who then send it to the group's sleeper cells in Punjab, and other places, jailed militants and families of militants.

Sources also said top BKI leader Jagtar Singh Hawara - currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail - is in regular touch with some of the top leaders abroad and his phone calls have been traced by intelligence agencies from inside the jail. Most of his calls have been made to a London number (0044-74249XXXXX) and a number in Germany (0049-17459XXXXX) (HT is withholding the last five digits of the numbers).

Hawara is infamous for escaping the top-security Burail jail in 2004, when he and two other prisoners dug a 90-ft tunnel from inside the jail with their bare hands.

In one case, a top UK-based BKI activist Balbir Singh Bains, from September 2010 to January 2012, has sent about R25 lakh to Khalistan supporters in India through various channels, including Money Gram. Bains coordinates BKI activities from London and Frankfurt (Germany) and also reviews the progress of the movement in India.

Another BKI operative Joga Singh has also been transferring funds to BKI operatives in India. He is also reported to be the main intermediary with BKI activists in Pakistan and visits the country frequently.


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