Pro-Khalistani Groups Seek New Leadership Amidst Turmoil and Infighting, Says New Intel Analysis

Mar 22, 2024

Reports from central Intelligence agencies over the past few months have indicated that Pro-Khalistan Entities (PKEs) are grappling with a leadership vacuum and are in the process of cultivating a fresh leadership cadre. Top sources quoting a recent analysis done by a central agency said that meetings to identify potential leaders for anti-India activities across various countries have been held multiple times with the expectation that apart from declared terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, new faces will emerge to spearhead operations in different countries.

Recent events have revealed a fragmentation within PKEs, as only a fraction of supporters agreed to stage violent protests during a recent gathering outside a venue visited by Indian diplomats, citing the absence of strong leadership. Sources also said that additionally, Pakistan-backed terror groups are intensifying efforts to recruit individuals to advance the Khalistan agenda, particularly in the UK and Canada, amidst reported discord among supporters during protests in Toronto and Surrey.

Sources said that despite ongoing efforts, Indian Intelligence agencies have been monitoring developments closely and have diplomatically warned against violent anti-India activities outside Indian consulates by PKEs. Furthermore, concerns persist over unchecked human trafficking operations facilitated by PKEs, which continue unabated despite alerts from Indian agencies and the apparent indifference of Canadian authorities.

Internal strife among previous leadership factions has further undermined the coherence of Khalistani terror groups, with documented instances of inter-group violence recorded by central agencies. Moreover, sources attribute multiple targeted killings in Punjab post-2016 to figures like Hardip Singh Nijjar and his associates, yet Canadian authorities have refrained from launching inquiries or investigations into their activities, dismissing them as political activists despite mounting casualties.

Highlighting the nexus between Khalistani elements and organised crime, sources have pointed out the involvement of many Khalistanis in drug trade in Canada, where inter-gang rivalries among Punjabi gangsters have become commonplace. Despite incidents like the murder of pro-India Sikh leader Ripudaman Singh Malik in 2022, allegedly orchestrated by Hardip Singh Nijjar, Canadian agencies have been criticised for their perceived lack of urgency in unraveling such conspiracies and apprehending the perpetrators.