UK anti-terror raids linked to Jagtar Singh Johal’s arrest, claims group
Anti-terror raids by the police in the Midlands on Tuesday here were allegedly linked to the arrest in Punjab of British national Jagtar Singh Johal and were conducted at the behest of India, a Sikh group claimed on Saturday.
The raids were conducted by counter-terrorism units in the West Midlands and Leicester in connection with what they called “allegations of extremist activity in India and fraud offences”. There were no arrests, but electronic equipment was allegedly removed.
Johal was reportedly arrested in November last year in connection with the murder of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain. A campaign has since been launched in the UK for his release, accompanied by allegations of his torture in custody.
The police did not release details of the raids, but the Sikh Federation (UK) said they were conducted at the residences of six Sikh activists in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester and London. They were reportedly linked to the campaign to release Johal.
“The raids by around 70 police officers lasting 12-36 hours not only targeted Sikh activists, but their elderly and disabled parents and young children who have been left traumatised and suffering from nightmares,” it said in a statement.
“(These) raids appear not to have been based on evidence-based intelligence, but have been carried out to demonstrate to the Indian authorities the UK is willing to help take actions against Sikh activists,” the group added.
Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill, who is also chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, met the head of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit on Friday, and questioned the raids, the group said.
Bhai Amrik Singh of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: “We know the police officers used heavy handed techniques, have made several fundamental mistakes that lawyers have picked up on and action will be taken against police officers, especially the way they treated the families involved.”
“Following comments of Punjab Police officers the Sikh community and lawyers are in no doubt these raids are linked to a search for evidence against Jagtar Singh Johal.”
Meanwhile, the Punjab Police has confirmed that raids were conducted at at least five places including at the house of Gursharanbir Singh, a UK resident wanted in India for his involvement in RSS leader Rulda Singh’s murder case and the recent targeted killings in Punjab.
“The raids were the result of diplomatic pressure created by India on the UK. Gursharanbir was the key conspirators of targeted killing cases and is an accused in the cases being investigated by National Investigation Agency (NIA). Gursharanbir has provided weapon training to the killers at a shooting range in Dubai, “ said an official, adding, “It would be interesting to see of UK allows extradition of Gursharanbir”.