Terror tag for 9 pro-Khalistan operatives
“These individuals are involved in various acts of terrorism from across the border and from foreign soil. They have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilizing the country, by trying to revive militancy in Punjab through their anti national activities and through their support to and involvement in the Khalistan movement,” an MHA statement said.Updated: Jul 02, 2020 02:38 IST
The Centre on Wednesday declared nine Khalistani terrorists, including US-based Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) who has been spearheading a campign under the banner of “Referendum 2020” for a separate Khalistani state, as ‘individual terrorists’ under recently amended fourth schedule of UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Act), an official statement by ministry of home affairs said.
Others designated as individual terrorists under UAPA are Babbar Khalsa International’s UK chief Paramijit Singh, Canada-based head of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Germany-based members of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) Gurmeet Singh Bagga and Bhupinder Singh Bhinda, and Pakistan-based terrorists – head of BKI Wadhawa Singh, Lakhbir Singh (International Sikh Youth Federation), Ranjeet Singh (Khalistan Zindabad Force) and Paramjit Singh (Khalistan Commando Force).
Earlier, Pakistan-based terror group chiefs – Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, 26/11 Mumbai attacks co-mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim - were declared individual terrorists in September 2019 under the new law. The new law, which came into effect in August 2019, gives additional powers to the investigation agencies, particularly National Investigation Agency (NIA), as it allows investigators to put an embargo on arms and seize assets.
A statement by MHA said on Wednesday, “Reinforcing the commitment to strengthening national security and its policy of zero tolerance to terrorism, the MHA under the leadership of the home minister Amit Shah, today declared the nine individuals as designated terrorists under the provisions of the UAPA Act 1967 (as amended in 2019) and included their names in the Fourth Schedule of the said Act.”
“These individuals are involved in various acts of terrorism from across the border and from foreign soil. They have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilizing the country, by trying to revive militancy in Punjab through their anti national activities and through their support to and involvement in the Khalistan movement,” it added.
SFJ has been banned by the government. Its leader-cum-legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has been leading a campaign “Punjab Referendum 2020 for Khalistan”, launched in a rally in June, 2014 in New York. While testifying before a UAPA tribunal last year, NIA DIG Sonia Narang said, “SFJ is presently propagating ‘Referendum 2020’ in a very big way on the social media as well as on ground by holding meetings across USA and other countries where Sikhs are in large numbers. Further, a website was also launched by name www.referendum2020.org which is full of pro-Khalistani posts and anti-India insinuations.”
The Khalistanis get support from Pakistan and its spy agency ISI, according to Indian government.