Punjab Police are set to come down heavily on NRI Punjabis who have, over the years, supported what the police term as “anti-national” activities in Punjab through funding and logistic support.
The move comes in wake of the radical Sarbat Khalsa held on Tuesday where Sikh hardliners reiterated the demand for Khalistan while “appointing” militant Jagtar Singh Hawara as the jathedar of the Akal Takht. The state police and central agencies believe that several activities indulged in by Sikh hardliners in Punjab, which promote the secessionist agenda, are funded by NRI Sikhs.
The radical Sarbat Khalsa was supported by at least a dozen Sikh bodies based in the US, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia, all of which are now under the police scanner, said a senior cop from Amritsar.
“Since NRIs don’t have to live with the emerging law and order situation, some of them behave irresponsibly, sending money to promote secessionist agenda. It is high time they realise that what they do, even sitting in their own countries, will cost them. But the police will not question those who are doing genuine work for their home state,” said state DGP Suresh Arora.
Besides registering cases against such organisations and individuals, the police are also approaching their counterparts in the US, Canada and Australia with a list of such persons who need to be watched for anti-national tendencies.
Other than watching Sikh organisations abroad, the police have also undertaken the monitoring of various Sikh websites and news channels running online which are involved in hosting news about Punjab or Sikhs. While many of these sites and channels are picking up news stories from the mainstream media, there are some which generate their own news. “On many occasions, the news is based on falsehood, spread with a view to creating disorder and confusion,” Arora said.
In a recent case, Punjab Police wrote to the Centre to impose a ban on online Sikh news channel, where NRIs were shown openly making announcements of the money they would give to the “brave man” who assassinated the top SAD leadership, the SGPC chief, besides a host of Punjab Police officers.
As part of the exercise, the police also plan to scrutinise the foreign funding flowing to Sikh hardliners in the state. The SAD (Amritsar), which was at the forefront of organising the radical Sarbat Khalsa, has appealed to Sikhs across the world to fund the cause. The website of the party gives details of the bank accounts where the money can be deposited.
“Money coming into bank accounts can be easily traced. However, there are several crores worth of funding which is unaccounted for. Other than tax liability, it is important to find out for what activities the money has been sent,” an officer said.
In 2014, Mansa Police claimed to have found transactions of nearly Rs 4.13 crore from three bank accounts of Baljit Singh Daduwal -- one of the radical Sarbat Khalsa-“appointed” jathedars. The case is still under investigation.