Two Punjab youths held in Karnal for links with banned body ‘Sikh for Justice’

Two Punjab-based youths have been arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) of Haryana Police allegedly for their association with a banned organisation.

An FIR has been registered against them in Karnal in which the police claimed to have seized two illegal weapons from them.

The accused have been identified as Tej Parkash alias Kaka and Akashdeep, residents of Draha village in Ludhiana. Both the accused are believed to be members of ‘Sikh for Justice’ organisation which is banned in India.

Confirming the arrest, Ganga Ram Punia, Superintendent of Police (SP), Karnal, said that a team of STF Hisar arrested two persons from Karnal on December 23 and these accused were associated with Gurmeet Singh of USA. They were taken on four-day police remand and now, they have been sent to jail. “An FIR under Section 10 and 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and 25 of the Arms Act has been registered against them in Karnal,” the SP added.

About the findings from these accused, the SP said they had got valuable information. As per sources, the accused had received money from the US to kill two renowned persons in Ludhiana and Amritsar. — TNS



ISI man nabbed in Delhi after his arrival from UAE

With the arrest of most wanted gangster-turned-terrorist and ISI henchman Sukhmeet Pal Singh alias Sukh Bhikhariwal at IGI Airport early on Thursday, Delhi Police Special Cell and intelligence agencies have wound up one of the most extensive investigations of the year.

Sent from UAE on an “Emergency Certificate”, Bhikhariwal was arrested in Delhi on the basis of a lookout circular issued against him. He landed around 6.15am on an Emirates flight and was later produced in a court at Patiala House, which remanded him to eight days in police custody.

An intelligence officer stated that Bhikhariwal was nabbed from a flat in Ras-al-Khaimah in UAE on December 5-6 in a covert operation carried out by Special Cell with assistance from UAE Police, a development first reported by TOI on December 8.

In the first week of December, two Punjab-based assassins and three Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahideen operatives were arrested from east Delhi. Since then, intelligence agencies were trying to bring Bhikhariwal to India. He had masterminded several targeted killings, including the assassination of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu.

Police claimed that while this operation had reaffirmed the growing cooperation between India and the UAE, it had also exposed Pakistan’s spy agency ISI’s plan of trying to use Khalistan and the Kashmir network to revive extremism in Punjab and other parts of the country. In the past three years, UAE and Indian intelligence have coordinated several arrests, including that of Agusta Westland middlemen Christian Michel and Rajiv Saxena.

Bhikhariwal is currently being interrogated by a team of Special Cell officers. He is learnt to have given police crucial information about the functioning of Pakistan-based Khalistani radicals Harmeet Singh alias PhD, the chief of Khalistan Liberation Force who was murdered in February, and Lakhbir Singh alias Rode, the chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force.

The terror-monger is also being questioned about ISI’s “K2 desk” dealing with Kashmir and Khalistan extremism, which has been funding the targeted killings of Right-wing leaders and opponents of terrorism through the spoils of drug trafficking. Bhikhariwal is learnt to have told police about how ISI was once again trying to emulate the model of 2016/17 in Punjab, wherein they executed eight Right-wing leaders and how pro-Khalistani radicals had been employing the services of gangsters for killing Hindu leaders to revive militancy.

In the coming days, Bhikhariwal will be interrogated by intelligence agencies before being handed over to Punjab Police for investigation of their cases.

Bhikhariwal started as a drug trafficker a decade ago and soon got into organised crime. He was tapped by ISI sometime in 2015 through the narco-terror network. He was assigned to get targeted killings done in Punjab and north India. He started receiving foreign funds and hiring hitmen for jobs, apart from acting as a bridge between Khalistan terror elements based in Pak and other countries and ganglords lodged in Punjab jails.



Three British Sikhs arrested on suspicion of 2009 murder of Punjab RSS leader

Three British Sikhs have been arrested in the UK on suspicion of a murder conspiracy in India dating back to 2009, according to UK police.

The arrests followed early morning raids on Monday on extradition warrants executed by West Midlands Police and all three were granted bail at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London under "strict conditions".

"Three men were arrested on Monday (December 21) by West Midlands Police following extradition warrants issued by Westminster Magistrates," West Midlands Police said in a statement.

"Two men, aged 37 and 40, were arrested in Coventry and a 38-year-old man was arrested in Wolverhampton. They were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to a murder in India in 2009," the statement said.

The trio are now expected to undergo proceedings to be extradited to India, with some separatist Sikh groups in the UK claiming that an order for such proceedings has been signed off by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The Sikh Press Association published a statement on behalf of the arrested men and claimed they have been held in connection with the 2009 murder of Rulda Singh, a senior member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who was shot in Patiala and died a week after the attack.

It further alleges that the development is linked with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's visit to India earlier this year.

"If the three are extradited they would almost certainly be tortured and have no chance of a fair trial," claimed Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of Sikh Federation UK.



NIA arrests absconding Khalistani terrorist Gurjeet Singh Nijjar

The anti-terror probe agency NIA on Wednesday said it had arrested absconding Khalistani terrorist Gurjeet Singh Nijjar, who was hiding in Cyprus (Europe), upon his arrival at IGI Airport here Tuesday night.

According to NIA official, Nijjar, a resident of Pandori Sukha Singh village in Ajnala tehsil of Amritsar district, was wanted in a case registered on January 10, 2019 against one accused Harpal Singh under various sections of the Arms Act, 1959; the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951; and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Nijjar had left India on October 19, 2017 for Cyprus.

He is being produced in a special court here to obtain transit custody and shall be taken to Mumbai for further investigation, the officials said.

The officials said the investigation later revealed that the absconding accused Nijjar was the main conspirator in the case.

“Accused Nijjar, Harpal Singh and Moin Khan were active on social media platforms and hatched a criminal conspiracy to revive Sikh militancy for ultimate aim of formation of a separate state of Khalistan,” said a senior NIA official.

The probe further established that as part of the conspiracy for a separate “Khalistan State”, Nijjar, Harpal and Khan used to post videos and images praising militant Jagtar Singh Hawara – a convicted accused in assassination of Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab, images and videos of Operation Blue Star of 1984 and pro-Khalistani posts related to proscribed organisation Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) with the sole intention to motivate likeminded Sikh youths and others to join the Khalistan movement, said the officials.

Later it also came to light that Khan during his stints in Tihar Jail between 2013 and 2016 developed contact with Jagtar Singh Hawara, and showed his willingness to work for him and shared his contact number with him.

Subsequently, as planned, Khan sent friend request to Facebook ID ‘Khalistani Jindabad Khalistan’ from his Facebook account. By joining this Facebook account, Khan came in contact with Singh and Nijjar, the NIA officials said.

Nijjar motivated Khan by discussing about atrocities committed against the Muslims and Sikhs in India and convinced him to work for separate ‘Khalistan State’, the officials said, adding that in furtherance of conspiracy, Nijjar directed Khan to purchase a pistol and ammunition in 2018 and to carry out their nefarious designs.



NIA probing Khalistani funding for protests against India overseas

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case to investigate alleged funding of Khalistani terrorist groups abroad for organising on-ground campaigns, and demonstrations outside Indian missions in the UK, the US, Canada, Germany and other countries, people familiar with the development said.

According to the case registered last week, Khalistani elements based in India are also receiving funds through non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the people added, requesting anonymity.

The agency has named as accused US-based Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, UK- based Paramjit Singh Pamma and Canada resident Hardeep Singh Nijjar who, under the banner of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), are collecting funds for a rebellion against the Indian government, according to the first information report (FIR).

NIA has, for the first time, given the addresses of the three: Pannun (167-05, Powel Boulevard, Unit-22 White Stone, New York), Pamma (41, Bowden Road, Smethwick, UK) and Nijjar (8193, 143-A Street, Surrey BC, Canada and 1418, 142 Street, 72 Avenue, BC Canada).

The people familiar with the development cited above said the fresh FIR will empower NIA to investigate SFJ’s activities in various countries. If required, an NIA team may even visit these countries soon to probe the source of funding of the Khalistani groups.

This is NIA’s second FIR for conducting an investigation abroad after an amendment to the NIA Act last year that empowered the agency to probe terror activities against Indians and Indian interests overseas. Earlier this year, the agency filed a case to investigate a terror attack on a gurdwara in Kabul on March 25 in which 27 Sikh devotees, including an Indian, were killed.

According to the latest FIR, “as part of the conspiracy, huge funds are being collected abroad for on-ground campaign and propaganda against government of India including staging demonstrations outside Indian missions in the US, the UK, Germany, Canada and so forth. These campaigns are being spearheaded by designated terrorists Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Paramjit Singh Pamma, Hardeep Singh Nijjar and others”. HT has reviewed a copy of the FIR.

“It has also been learnt that large amounts so collected are being sent through NGOs to pro-Khalistani elements in India, to undertake terrorist acts and to strike terror in the people of India,” the FIR said. It added: “SFJ leadership has planned large scale disruptive activities to damage government and private property and also disrupt supplies and essential services to the life of community of India”.

For this, the agency said, SFJ and other pro-Khalistani elements, through an incessant social media campaign and otherwise, are radicalising and recruiting impressionable young people to campaign for and carry out terrorist acts for the creation of a separate nation of Khalistan.

Earlier this month, the central agency filed a charge-sheet against Pannun, Nijjar and Pamma along with 13 others in a separate 2019 case to investigate SFJ’s role in India.

SFJ has been banned by the ministry of home affairs (MHA;) properties of Pannun, Nijjar and Pamma in India have been ordered to be seized.

Intelligence agencies have alerted the government that Pakistan is actively supporting their activities and providing them funds.



How Canada has become headquarters for Khalistani terrorists

A Baloch activist driven away from her home by the Pakistan army was found dead in Canada, however, Canadian police is treating it as a non-criminal case because they find nothing suspicious.

Canada wears multiculturalism on its hat as foreign-born people make up for one-fifth of Canada's population. The country takes pride in welcoming immigrants and also rolls out the red carpet for extremists in order to appease.

Pakistanis, for instance, are the fifth-largest group of immigrants in Canada with over 155,000. The ruling party wants these votes, so it provides refuge to even extremists from Pakistan.

It is not to suggest that all Pakistanis are extremists but Canada has been under the scanner for becoming a safe haven for terrorists including those from Pakistan. Karima Baloch raised her voice against it. She asked why the Pakistan army that persecuted the Baloch was finding asylum in Canada. Now she's dead and Canada is investigating her death as a non-criminal case.

Karima Baloch was receiving threats, however, the Trudeau government has repeatedly been called out for its appeasement politics. It is not just interfering with the country's justice system, it has also become a part of his public and foreign policies. 

A convicted terrorist was part of Trudeau's entourage when he visited India in 2018. Jaspal Atwal is a Khalistani separatist and a convicted assassin. He tried assassinating an Indian minister in Canada in 1986.

Nearly 30 years later, Jaspal Atwal flew down to India along with PM Justin Trudeau. There are no official answers how a Khalistani separatist and a convicted criminal found his way into Trudeau's inner circle, leave alone accompany him to India.

Canada has become the headquarters for Khalistani terrorists due to the policy of appeasement. The government by harbouring Khalistani separatists has been trying to appease Canada's powerful Sikh community. Trudeau has over 10 Sikh MPs in his cabinet.

A Global News article says Canada has a secret program that allows it to harbour terrorists. In April 2015, Canada granted visa to Khaled Saber Abdel-Hamed Zahw. He was a high-ranking member of Egypt's military when it orchestrated a coup against President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The report claims Canadian security officials had initially refused visa to Zahw. They cited national security concerns, however, soon, the decision was overruled.

The report said "Canada allows certain high-profile foreign nationals who would otherwise be barred from entering the country due to national security concerns, war crimes, human rights violations and organised crimes".

The report claimed criminals are granted public policy entry visas as long as they serve Canada's national interests. WION has not been able to independently verify it. Canada's tryst with extremists is not new since for the longest time Ottawa failed to designate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) as a terrorist group.

Little has been done to stop terror fundraising in Canada. A 2018 report on terrorism had listed Sikh extremists as one of the five terror threats to Canada. The Trudeau government however he removed the reference since pro-Khalistani groups were not happy.

Canada's vote bank politics has become a threat to global peace from Europe to West Asia and Asia - countries today are joining forces to counter-terrorism. Canada has two options - it can either mend its ways or be isolated.



11 grenades dropped by Pakistan drone recovered near IB in Punjab's Gurdaspur

Punjab Police on Monday said it seized 11 hand grenades, suspected to have been dropped by a drone flying in from Pakistan, from a field near the International Border (IB) in Gurdaspur district.

The consignment was found in a field in Salach village, located about 1 km from the border, in Gurdaspur district, Gurdaspur Senior Superintendent of Police Rajinder Singh Sohal told PTI over the phone.

The grenades were hidden in a box and it was attached to a wooden frame, he said, adding the recovery was made Sunday evening.

Sohal said the Border Security Force had seen the movement of a drone on the intervening night of December 19 and 20 and had even fired at it.

“We conducted a search operation with the BSF personnel on Sunday and recovered grenades,” he said.

The first incident of dropping arms and weapons through drones from Pakistan came to light in Punjab in August 2019 when police recovered AK-47 rifles, magazines and rounds of ammunition, hand grenades, fake currency and other items in Tarn Taran district. Since then there have been several instances when security forces seized arms and ammunition dropped by drones flying in from across the Pakistani border. PTI 



'Issues of Khalistan movement should have been dealt with politically'

Elucidating upon the events in the 1970s and1980s that led up Operation Bluestar in Punjab, former senior police officers opined that all the issues in those days, should have must have been addressed politically not forcefully as there are no military answers to a political problem. 

Speaking out his recently published book, 'The Khalistan Conspiracy: A Former R&AW Officer Unravels the Path to 1984', at the Military Literature Festival here on Sunday, the author GBS Sidhu, said that in the late seventies when he was sent to Canada to look into the Khalistani problem, he found no evidence of any large scale movement except for a couple of persons peddling the cause.

Sidhu, a former Special Secretary in the Research and Analysis Wing, delved upon a series of interconnected events that led to the subsequent rise of the Khalistan movement and its aftermath. He spoke of the functioning of RAW on this issue, the developments and changes that took place within the agency such as creating new divisions and setting up new overseas stations and the political dimension to the whole episode.

He said that his book revolved around a two-phased, top-secret operation, initiated and managed by some senior Congress leaders operating from then prime minister Indira Gandhi's residential office at 1 Akbar Road, New Delhi.

Labelling it as Operation Bhindranwale-Khalistan, he said that the first phase involved destabilising the then Badal-led government in Punjab by propping up Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and creating a fear psychosis, which met little success, while the second phase was aimed at winning the state elections.

 Sidhu also recalled various aspects related to rising of militancy in Punjab and abroad, especially Canada and other European countries, where Sikhs had migrated to during the 1970s. He also highlighted about the efforts of the union government at that time to settle the issues revolving around militancy. 

Former Director General of Police, Punjab, GS Aujla, said that the issue was not addressed at the political level at that time and history has given a great lesson that political will was lacking to solve the issue during the period.

MPS Aulakh, a former Director General of Police, Punjab who has held prominent positions in the Intelligence Bureau, traced the series of events of that period that began with some incidents of violence in the early 1970s and the role of the establishment in dealing with the emerging situation.



NIA files second chargesheet against SFJ operatives

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed its second chargesheet against pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and 10 of its operatives, including the proscribed chief of the outfit, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu.

The charges are in connection with acts of arson and violence and a propaganda campaign allegedly being run by SFJ operatives to promote “enmity”.

In its last chargesheet, NIA had alleged that the outfit was not only promoting secessionist activity but also influencing Sikh soldiers in the Indian Army to revolt. The latest chargesheet has been filed in connection with a “series of acts of violence including acts of arson in Punjab during the 2017-18, carrying out of propaganda activities both online and on ground campaigns in support of SFJ and Referendum- 2020”, the NIA said in a statement. Referendum 2020 is a reference to an online campaign launched by SFJ in support of the formation of Khalistan.



Khalistan is Pakistan project, threat to national security: Canadian report

Terry Milewski, one of Canada's veteran journalists, has warned that the Khalistan project is sponsored by Pakistan, and it is detrimental to the national security of not only India but Canada as well.

The Milewski report published by Macdonald Laurier Institute, a reputed think tank based in Ottawa, reveals how Pakistan launched the Khalistan insurgency using Indian Sikhs in Indian Punjab to avenge its own defeat in the Indo-Pak 1971 war.

India had intervened in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) to stop the genocide perpetrated by Pakistani Army and consequently helped it to liberate from West Pakistan.

Interestingly, the report points out how Pakistan viewed the Khalistan project as a strategic buffer and how an independent Khalistan would end India's land access to Kashmir to the north, another key interest of the Pakistan Army since 1947.

Highlighting the logical fallacy of the Khalistan project, Milewski reveals how separatist Sikhs complain loudly and properly about the massacre of several thousand Sikhs by Hindus in 1984, but do not hold rallies to demand justice for at least a quarter-million Sikhs massacred by Muslims in 1947 in the name of Islam during the Partition of India.

The Milewski report claims that the western democracies with large Sikh communities like Canada, the UK and the US are aware of this absurdity and therefore, sceptical of the Khalistan referendum, planned for November 2020.

Canada's government has already said it won't recognise it.

Questioning the Khalistan referendum, the veteran journalist in his report has asked why the separatist Sikhs seek India's "occupation" of Indian Punjab, but never ask Pakistan to end its occupation of Pakistani Punjab.

Majority of Sikhs, the report points out, are happy with India and those who live in Indian Punjab even cheer for their regional government headed by Captain Amarinder Singh.

Milewski, an award-winning journalist, reported from 52 countries during four decades as a correspondent for Canada's most watched CBC TV News.

He was CBC's first Middle East bureau chief and also covered at least three former US administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In 1985, he covered the Air India bombing in which 329 people were killed aboard from Montreal to Heathrow. He has chased that story for the last 35 years, covering the entire investigation and inquiry into the case.

Milewski retired as CBC's senior correspondent in 2016, returning occasionally as a guest host on the network's Power and Politics. — IANS



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